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Sustainable Farming Incentive (2023)

4th August 2023

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is relaunching in August 2023 and will be very different to the 2022 SFI scheme. Instead of ‘standards’ the 2023 scheme has a much wider variety of ‘actions’ which farmers can earn money from. Farmers can select as many actions as they want and there is no minimum or maximum area of land that can be entered in to the agreement. Therefore, the 2023 scheme seems a lot more flexible than the scheme that was rolled out last year and should mean that farmers can choose actions that work best for their business.

What is SFI?

The SFI is a scheme which aims to protect and improve the environment whilst supporting food production. Farmers can make an application at any point in the year and an agreement will last for 3 years. Once the business has received their agreement, payments will be made quarterly.

There are 23 actions available which cover the following areas:

  • Soil health
  • Moorland assessment
  • Hedgerows
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Nutrient Management
  • Farmland Wildlife on arable and improved grassland
  • Buffer strips
  • Low input grassland

What can farmers get paid in SFI 2023?

For example, a business who has a 50 ha grass farm which use little inputs could get £151 per ha to put the low input grassland action on this land giving a total yearly revenue of £7,550. The option in SFI differs to the option under Countryside Stewardship (CS) as farmers are able to supplementary feed on the land under the option as long as it does not cause poaching.

There are also numerous actions for hedgerows. Farmers can assess the condition of their hedgerows for £3 per side per 100m whereby they must record the condition of the hedgerows on the farm. Another action under hedgerows is for Hedgerow Management which pays £10 per side per 100m of a hedgerow to manage them through cutting, coppicing and laying in a rotation with the aim to have hedgerows of differing heights and widths. This option can be used in conjunction with the CS Capital Grant for funding towards coppicing and laying of the hedgerow.

In addition to the action payments, each agreement attracts a payment of £20 per hectare for up to 50 hectares of land entered in to the agreement to cover the cost of signing up to the scheme.

Payment rates for the other actions are provided at the BPS and Grants section of our website.

Can SFI work with Countryside Stewardship?

Yes. A farmer can combine SFI and CS options, as long as the land is eligible for both and the the RPA are not paying the business twice to do the same activity.

To find out more about what income you can receive from a SFI agreement, please contact one of our experts:

Clare Williams – 01938 554499

Amy Thomas – 01938 554499

Richard Corbett – 01691 665334 / 01743 791336

Pip Maddocks – 01691 655334 / 01743 791336