SFI applications open next week

A reminder to farmers that they can sign up to the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme from 18 September.

The opening of the application has been subject to delays and criticism as Defra civil servants have worked to ensure that the roll-out goes as smoothly as possible.

To date, farmers have been able to register their interest in taking part, from next Monday, they can actually get their applications in, complete with online maps, land use and cover details.

There are 23 actions in the SFI scheme, aimed at protecting the environment while supporting food production and productivity. Among the actions included are: soil health, hedgerows, integrated pest management, farmland wildlife, buffer strips and low input grassland.

Payments for the scheme will be issued quarterly.

While the scheme will roll-out on the 18th September, Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: ‘We’ve done a huge amount to streamline and improve the SFI, making it as simple and flexible as possible for farmers to engage with, apply for and embrace. The scheme will remain flexible to allow for the changing needs and requirements of both farmers and their markets to ensure the best outcomes for food production and the natural environment.’

Members of the NNCG can hear directly from the Defra civil servant charged with bringing the SFI to the table, Janet Hughes, when she speaks at the NNCG Autumn Conference at Sandringham on 22 September. While the event is now at capacity, there will be a write up and recordings of the presentations available for those unable to attend.