The Sustainable Farming Incentive is a new scheme rewarding environmental land management. Due to go live from mid-2022, it will give farmers an opportunity to secure a complementary income stream to their farm business by undertaking sustainable actions that benefit the wider environment.
Farmers will enter into an agreement that will pay them to carry out a range of environmentally sustainable practices, eg planting and managing hedgerows to provide year-round food, shelter and breeding cover for birds and insects. Farmers do not need previous experience in agri-environment schemes to join.
Prior to the full launch next year, the scheme is being piloted with England’s farmers. This is part of a process called ‘co-design’, which means working with farmers to make sure the scheme works in practice. The scheme will initially be available to Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) recipients and will be extended and expand over time.
Farmers will be paid monthly, as per their pilot agreement, for completing the actions from the agreement and time spent on learning activities (a pilot participation payment). Participants can continue to claim for BPS.
Expressions of interest (EoIs) for the pilot are now being invited. The deadline for submitting an EoI is 11 April 2021 (23:59 BST).
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How To Apply
Farmers will need to complete an online form to submit expressions of interest in taking part in the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.
Following application to the pilot, farmers will find out if they were selected by 24 May 2021. Selections will be random and this initial stage will be open to several hundred farmers, reflecting England’s distribution of farm types and locations.
Those selected will be able to make an application from 24 May 2021. Over summer the agreements will be developed and agreed. The first agreements will start in October 2021. The pilot is expected to last until 2024.
Useful documents & links
Scheme - Guidance Document