The Sustainable Farming Incentive has now opened for applications in England and is available to all BPS-eligible farmers. It is designed to be accessible and will reward sustainable practices that support food production and benefit the environment.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first of three new environmental land management schemes being introduced under the Agricultural Transition Plan.
The schemes will ensure long-term food security by investing in the foundations of food production: healthy soil, water, and biodiverse ecosystems. The scheme will open with two soil standards recognising the importance of healthy soil for successful farming and the environment, and a moorland standard. In that standard, we will pay farmers to assess the condition of the moorland as a basis for further action in the future through our existing and new schemes.
Our new application service
Our new application service is designed to be quicker and more straightforward for farmers. It includes some new functionality that allows us to automate the checks we need to do and process applications much more quickly than we’ve previously been able.
There is no ‘application window’ and no deadline by which farmers must apply, so farmers can apply throughout the year at a time that works best for them.
We’ll be rolling out the new functionality through July in a controlled and careful way, so we can make sure we’re able to offer everyone the right level of service and support during this initial phase.
That means that while all BPS-eligible farmers can apply for the SFI, during the first few weeks of rollout there will be different ways into the service:
- Those in BPS only, can apply directly now through the Rural Payments service.
- Those in BPS with an existing Countryside Stewardship (CS) or Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement, or farming commons, will be asked to contact the RPA who will support you to apply.
This is the initial rollout of the scheme. It will be expanded over the next three years as Direct Payments are reduced. The full set of standards will be in place by 2025.
How to apply