Today DEFRA has released an update on SFI Management Payments and Countryside Stewardship Payment Rates.
The introduction of the SFI Management Payment is a flat rate payment of £20 per hectare up to 50 hectares in addition to the standard payments within farmers agreements. This has been introduced to cover the administrative costs of entering into an SFI agreement and we hope this will make the scheme more financially viable for our clients, going some way to address the previously poor uptake due to the perceived view that the SFI in its current form does not provide a sufficient return to enter into.
We also welcome the updated payment rates for Countryside Stewardship revenue and capital options. The payment rates reflect the increased input costs across agricultural markets and should make the CS scheme more attractive to farmers, going some way to reward farmers for their hard work in providing habitats and farming in an environmentally focussed way.
Further information on the changes can be read here https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2023/01/05/introducing-sfi-management-payments-and-changes-to-countryside-stewardship-rates/
The application window for Countryside Stewardship is usually between February and July, although the RPA haven’t confirmed dates for 2023 applications. BTF are busy preparing for the 2023 application window, if you would like to discuss opportunities for your farm please contact Callum Preece or Tom Wilson in Challock or Colin Hall in Heathfield.