This is a reminder of the changes announced last week and some comments provided by Stewardship adviser, Claire Foster.

  • Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) 2023

SFI in 2023 will include the following 6 new Standards:

  • hedgerows
  • integrated pest management
  • nutrient management
  • arable and horticultural land
  • improved grassland
  • low input grassland

These are in addition to the 3 Standards already available for Improved Grassland Soils, Arable & Horticultural Soils and the basic level of the Moorland Standard.  Agreements will be for 3 years with payments made quarterly.  There is an annual SFI management payment of £20/ha for the first 50ha in the agreement. Instead of having different levels within each Standard, we understand farmers will be given a list of actions to choose from with different payment rates.  The scheme will be more integrated with CS and short term tenants can exit without penalty if access to land is lost.  SFI 2023 is expected to open in the Summer.

  • CS (Countryside Stewardship) and CS Plus

What was previously going to be called “Local Nature Recovery”, will now be “CS Plus”, which, by the end of 2024, will provide around 30 new actions/options in addition to the 250 options currently on offer through the existing Stewardship schemes.  CS will be made more flexible with an on-line application process more integrated with SFI.  Payments will be made quarterly rather than annually and an annual declaration will replace the existing claim process.  As the scheme evolves, Defra plans to incentivise those who work together across multiple holdings to deliver environmental outcomes and connect habitats across a wider area.

Full details of all the changes to SFI and Stewardship are HERE.