DEFRA have released a key update regarding the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and positively, things appear more pragmatic in an administrative sense, with a 3-year term approach and flexibility to run alongside Countryside Stewardship (but not overlap management) and other Natural Capital projects. Although payment levels remain modest, quarterly installments are welcome.
It is proposed that initially the more basic arable, horticultural and grassland soil standards will be rolled out in 2022 to BPS claimants, together with a Moorland/rough grazing standard and a health & welfare review for livestock farmers. Most applicable to South-East England are the livestock review and or soils standards, which aim to improve soil health, structure, organic matter and biology.
Further standards are due to be introduced incrementally between 2023 and 2025, with the full range expected to be available from 2025 onwards.
Exact timings for SFI applications are to follow in the New Year, so watch this space.
Please see link for a useful summary; defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/12/02/sfi-standards/