Updates from Defra – June 2023

Every now and then, we let our Land App users know the latest news from Defra, relevant to policy, funding changes and opportunities. You can read about June’s updates below * 

*Please note the following is text is an update provided directly from Defra, which Land App has agreed to pass on.

Sustainable Farming Incentive actions – good for the environment, food production and your business

On 21 June Minister Spencer confirmed the final details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) 2023 offer at the Lincolnshire Show, including more on the SFI management payment and how those already in SFI agreements can access SFI23. The SFI offers payments for actions that support food production and can help improve farm productivity and resilience, while also protecting and improving the environment. The scheme is straightforward to apply to, payments are received quickly, and it is less prescriptive – allowing farmers flexibility to focus on delivering outcomes that matter.

Using farmer feedback, we have made improvements to the 2023 offer – including allowing farmers to choose what combination of actions they do, unlike previously where actions were grouped into standards.To make the change from our initial offer to the new one smooth, we have temporarily closed applications and we will start accepting applications in a controlled rollout from August. Farmers will be able to apply for a total of 23 paid-for actions. This includes actions relating to soil health, hedgerow management, providing food and habitats for wildlife, and managing pests and nutrients.

In combination with Countryside Stewardship, we have an offer that is attractive and workable for all kinds of farms, with even more coming in future years.

For more information, please read our blog post.

Uplift to £31 million for the Productivity and Slurry grant 

Earlier this year we invited applications for grants towards equipment and technology to boost farm productivity, increase environmental sustainability and help with slurry management. Applications are now closed for this round. But on 8 June, we announced that we are offering a significant uplift on the original £17 million under that grant to meet popular demand. Over 3,000 applicants are now set to receive grants. 

This represents an uplift to grants to the value of £31 million. For more information, please read our press release. There will be more rounds of grants in the future. You can suggest ideas for items in future grant rounds.

Unleashing rural opportunity 

On 8 June, the government announced steps it is taking to boost rural communities on housing, transport, digital connectivity and jobs. The ‘Unleashing Rural Opportunity’ publication also includes a number of new measures targeted at farmers, including: 

  • New funding to improve digital connectivity in hard-to-reach areas 
  • A consultation on planning changes to make agricultural development more flexible for farmers 
  • Support for electricity infrastructure in rural areas, making sure it keeps up with the changing needs of consumers 
  • A consultation shortly on a new fund to help smaller abattoirs improve productivity and enhance animal welfare, aiming to open a fund for applications later this year 
  • New funding to help cut rural crime 

For more information, please read the Defra press release.

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