30th June 2022
Defra press release:
The Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first of three new environmental land management schemes being introduced under the Agricultural Transition Plan, the UK’s new system of farming now we are outside the EU which is designed in the best interests of English farmers. The schemes will ensure long-term food security by investing in the foundations of food production: healthy soil, water, and biodiverse ecosystems. Defra has worked with more than 4,000 farmers to test and trial the new approach.
Defra is opening the scheme in a controlled rollout from 30 June to manage the opening in a careful, measured way: for those with no other agri-environment agreements, they’ll be able to apply online straight away; for everyone else, they’ll be asked to let the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) know they want to apply and RPA will get in touch and support them to do so. This is to ensure everyone receives the right level of service and support during this initial phase of rollout.
The scheme will open with two soil standards recognising the importance of healthy soil for successful farming and the environment, and a Moorland standard where we will pay farmers to assess the condition of the Moorland as a basis for further action in future through our existing and new schemes.
This is the initial rollout of the scheme – which will be expanded over the next three years as Direct Payments are reduced. The full set of standards will be in place by 2025.