SFI Pilot Agreement contract.

Would any sensible landowner sign this contract?


  • Total voters
    65

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
Set out below is the text of the agreement DEFRA expect me to sign to be part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot (SFI Pilot) Agreement with my details omitted.
The poll is for fun (perhaps)
DEFRA expect me to sign this without knowing what the payment rates will be over a three year period ( which I was not previously aware of having assumed it was over one year to coincide with the payment of the £5K bribe to take part) There is no limit to how much time I might be required to commit but DEFRA can it would appear dock money at their discretion.
That might be due to my oversight but in addition I find that I will have to comply with the SFI terms and conditions (Highlighted in red) none of which are included in the agreement so which particular version DEFRA wish to apply will be outside of my control.
This not a contract between equals in the area of dispute resolution and there is no obligation on DEFRA that I can see..
I don't trust DEFRA so in order to be clear about my legal obligations and the possible consequences of signing this agreement I would have to spend up front a significant proportion of the £5K on a decent agricultural lawyer who no doubt will confirm my view that I shouldn't have anything to do with the SFI pilot.
@Janet Hughes Defra Mine is an all grass farm with cattle outwintered whenever possible. I dont use artificial fertilisers or buy compound feeds in any quantity and your scheme would require me to carry out soil sampling work that is not necessary with a low input fodder based system where the manure falls where the cow decides. It is also impossible to control sward heights in the manner suggested through the seasons.
It is a shame that I cannot participate because your researchers could learn a lot from simple systems like mine about what actually happens throughout a year when grazing livestock. You are welcome to send them along by appointment and I will charge my time to DEFRA at my current hourly rate.


Agreement Holder
Data Protection The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the data controller for personal data you give to RPA. For information on how we handle personal data go to www.gov.uk and search ‘Rural Payments Agency personal information charter’.

Agreement Document Type: Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot (SFI Pilot) Agreement Name: SFI pilot agreement Agreement Start date: 01 NOVEMBER 2021 Agreement End date: 31 OCTOBER 2024 Date Generated: 14/10/2021 Application Reference: Application Status: Agreement Offered Page 1 of 5 the published guidance ("Guidance"); Introduction and Overview •
This is the SFI Pilot Agreement ("Agreement") which sets out specific details in relation to the Agreement Holder’s grant funding under the SFI Pilot. The SFI Pilot forms part of the Environmental Land Management National Pilot Scheme funded under s1 of the Agriculture Act 2020.

The Agreement should be read in conjunction with, and is subject to the: • SFI Pilot Terms and Conditions ("Terms and Conditions"); and which together form the Agreement. The Agreement should also be read in conjunction with the Agriculture (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2021 which apply to the Environmental Land Management National Pilot Scheme.

All obligations and details in this Agreement are binding on the Agreement Holder, save where they are expressly stated to be “not binding”.
1. Parties to the Agreement and the Rural Payments Agency (acting as a delivery body on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF (the "Authority"). This Agreement is between: (the "Agreement Holder and the Rural Payments Agency (acting as a delivery body on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF (the "Authority").


2. Standards The following table sets out the Standard(s) and Ambition Level(s) the Agreement Holder has selected. The Terms and Conditions and the Guidance sets out the accompanying obligations for the selected Standard and Ambition Level. In addition the table sets out the anticipated total payments which, subject to the Agreement Holder’s compliance with the Agreement, may be paid to the Agreement Holder. Please note that these figures are correct as at the Agreement Start Date and may vary as a result of the processes set out in the Terms and Conditions and/or the Guidance. These figures are being provided to assist the Agreement Holder to determine what publicity obligations will apply to the Agreement Holder. For further details on publicity obligations, please see scheme Guidance.

Standard Ambition Level Total applied for (Ha) Payment Rate Annual Value Total Value


* For the avoidance of doubt the Total Agreement Value shall be the maximum amount an Agreement Holder may receive under this Agreement (excluding any Pilot Participation Payment). Payment will be made on a quarterly basis subject to compliance with the Agreement. The Total Agreement Value and Total annual payment value stated in the table above comprise the total aggregate quarterly payments over the course of the Agreement and do not constitute separate payments. The Pilot Participation Payment amount displayed in this table is the amount for the first year of your Agreement. Amounts for subsequent years will be confirmed at a later date. The Pilot Participation Payment amount paid during the term of this Agreement may vary depending on the amount of learning activities the Agreement Holder undertakes.
 
Last edited:

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Set out below is the text of the agreement DEFRA expect me to sign to be part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot (SFI Pilot) Agreement with my details omitted.
The poll is for fun (perhaps)
DEFRA expect me to sign this without knowing what the payment rates will be over a three year period ( which I was not previously aware of having assumed it was over one year to coincide with the payment of the £5K bribe to take part) There is no limit to how much time I might be required to commit but DEFRA can it would appear dock money at their discretion.
That might be due to my oversight but in addition I find that I will have to comply with the SFI terms and conditions (Highlighted in red) none of which are included in the agreement so which particular version DEFRA wish to apply will be outside of my control.
This not a contract between equals in the area of dispute resolution and there is no obligation on DEFRA that I can see..
I don't trust DEFRA so in order to be clear about my legal obligations and the possible consequences of signing this agreement I would have to spend up front a significant proportion of the £5K on a decent agricultural lawyer who no doubt will confirm my view that I shouldn't have anything to do with the SFI pilot.
@Janet Hughes Defra Mine is an all grass farm with cattle outwintered whenever possible. I dont use artificial fertilisers or buy compound feeds in any quantity and your scheme would require me to carry out soil sampling work that is not necessary with a low input fodder based system where the manure falls where the cow decides. It is also impossible to control sward heights in the manner suggested through the seasons.
It is a shame that I cannot participate because your researchers could learn a lot from simple systems like mine about what actually happens throughout a year when grazing livestock. You are welcome to send them along by appointment and I will charge my time to DEFRA at my current hourly rate.


Agreement Holder
Data Protection The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the data controller for personal data you give to RPA. For information on how we handle personal data go to www.gov.uk and search ‘Rural Payments Agency personal information charter’.

Agreement Document Type: Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot (SFI Pilot) Agreement Name: SFI pilot agreement Agreement Start date: 01 NOVEMBER 2021 Agreement End date: 31 OCTOBER 2024 Date Generated: 14/10/2021 Application Reference: Application Status: Agreement Offered Page 1 of 5 the published guidance ("Guidance"); Introduction and Overview •
This is the SFI Pilot Agreement ("Agreement") which sets out specific details in relation to the Agreement Holder’s grant funding under the SFI Pilot. The SFI Pilot forms part of the Environmental Land Management National Pilot Scheme funded under s1 of the Agriculture Act 2020.

The Agreement should be read in conjunction with, and is subject to the: • SFI Pilot Terms and Conditions ("Terms and Conditions"); and which together form the Agreement. The Agreement should also be read in conjunction with the Agriculture (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2021 which apply to the Environmental Land Management National Pilot Scheme.

All obligations and details in this Agreement are binding on the Agreement Holder, save where they are expressly stated to be “not binding”.
1. Parties to the Agreement and the Rural Payments Agency (acting as a delivery body on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF (the "Authority"). This Agreement is between: (the "Agreement Holder and the Rural Payments Agency (acting as a delivery body on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF (the "Authority").
Surely that's not the whole thing (except your details)?
It doesn't set out what you are expected to do and what they are committing to do unless i'm reading it wrong?
 
Last edited:

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
I've just looked up the SFI Pilot Ts & Cs. https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...ncentive-pilot-agreement-terms-and-conditions

So much for DEFRA making the SFI easy to take part in without needing an adviser. That had clearly been written by a lawyer and needs another lawyer to explain its impact in simple terms. Why wasn't it written in plain English?

This clause (which I expected to find and was dissappointed to be right) kills it for me and would probably lead any advising lawyer to recommend one didn't sign:

The Authority reserves the right to vary these Terms and Conditions or any other part of the Agreement at any time. Any variation will be effected in writing and notified to the Agreement Holder in advance. The Authority shall endeavour to give such notice as is reasonable and proportionate, having regard to the nature of the variation and its consequences for the Agreement Holder.

in what other fields of business or private life would anybody sign ANY agreement with that clause in it?
 
Last edited:

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
Surely that's not the whole thing (except your details)?
It doesn't set out what you are expected to do and what they are conjuring to do unless in reading it wrong?
Sorry but Nothing visual to read of any substance. But regardless why do they think they have to meddle with agriculture. Just phase out payments and leave us to get on . The fittest will survive the hobbiest will play at it without interference
Edited to include the standards and the rider.
The rest is details about the land parcels to be included.
 
I've just looked up the SFI Pilot Ts & Cs. https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...ncentive-pilot-agreement-terms-and-conditions

So much for DEFRA making the SFI easy to take part in without needing an adviser. That had clearly been written by a lawyer and needs another lawyer to explain its impact in simple terms. Why wasn't it written in plain English?

This clause (which I expected to find and was disappointed to be right) kills it for me and would probably lead any advising lawyer to recommend one didn't sign:

The Authority reserves the right to vary these Terms and Conditions or any other part of the Agreement at any time. Any variation will be effected in writing and notified to the Agreement Holder in advance. The Authority shall endeavour to give such notice as is reasonable and proportionate, having regard to the nature of the variation and its consequences for the Agreement Holder.
I seem to recall @Janet Hughes Defra being asked about this matter? Certainly is has been discussed at length, and almost as much of a "no thanks" deal breaker as the ability for land in a "Stewardship" Agreement to suddenly become sterilised for future farming purposes by NE, at the end of the agreement period...

If not asked, then one for the next session please @Clive?
 
Last edited:
I've just looked up the SFI Pilot Ts & Cs. https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...ncentive-pilot-agreement-terms-and-conditions

So much for DEFRA making the SFI easy to take part in without needing an adviser. That had clearly been written by a lawyer and needs another lawyer to explain its impact in simple terms. Why wasn't it written in plain English?

This clause (which I expected to find and was dissappointed to be right) kills it for me and would probably lead any advising lawyer to recommend one didn't sign:

The Authority reserves the right to vary these Terms and Conditions or any other part of the Agreement at any time. Any variation will be effected in writing and notified to the Agreement Holder in advance. The Authority shall endeavour to give such notice as is reasonable and proportionate, having regard to the nature of the variation and its consequences for the Agreement Holder.

in what other fields of business or private life would anybody sign ANY agreement with that clause in it?


Looks like the sort of agreement you'd expect from a Con Artist or Scammer. In fact I would doubt it's a legal document as it puts one party in a position of having no side to their contract at the discretion of the opposing party.

Still I'm not surprised.

The whole situation needs a neutral arbitor.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
The governments whole plan for becoming carbon neutral totally relies on farmers being mug enough to sign up to these agreements, if no one shows any interest whatever the whole thing goes back to the drawing board & they will have to come back with an alternative offer otherwise carbon neutral fails!
As they say "united we stand divided we fall".
 

Wombat

Member
Location
East yorks
The governments whole plan for becoming carbon neutral totally relies on farmers being mug enough to sign up to these agreements, if no one shows any interest whatever the whole thing goes back to the drawing board & they will have to come back with an alternative offer otherwise carbon neutral fails!
As they say "united we stand divided we fall".
The problem there will be some who have never had a bad experience with them so maybe think it’s all going to be fine or they are a bit more in dept than some and need the cash so some will sign regardless
 

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
This agreement is a contract where the contractual obligations required of the farmer can be changed at any time at the behest of DEFRA. The contract incorporates guidance and regulations that can be changed at any time without changing the contract. A constant set of moving goalposts, DEFRA really must think we are mugs.
Anyone disagree with that analysis?
@Janet Hughes Defra Would you care to comment?
 
Last edited:

Wombat

Member
Location
East yorks
This agreement is a contract where the contractual obligations required of the farmer can be changed at any time at the behest of DEFRA. The contract incorporates guidance and regulations that can be changed at any time without changing the contract. A constant set of moving goalposts, DEFRA really must think we are mugs.
Anyone disagree with that analysis?
No seems pretty clear
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
This agreement is a contract where the contractual obligations required of the farmer can be changed at any time at the behest of DEFRA. The contract incorporates guidance and regulations that can be changed at any time without changing the contract. A constant set of moving goalposts, DEFRA really must think we are mugs.
Anyone disagree with that analysis?
@Janet Hughes Defra Would you care to comment?
To be fair, a similar clause has been in all of the pillar 2 agreements for many years. If you took part in ELS, HLS, CS, Small Productivity Grants Scheme, Hedgerow and Boundary grant scheme or various others it was one of the conditions you accepted.

It's simply not acceptable imho and, given the imbalance of power in the situation, smacks of bullying.

In the current political climate it leaves me unable to accept any such scheme.

Trust is essential in all this and seems to be missing.
 

J 1177

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Durham, UK
This agreement is a contract where the contractual obligations required of the farmer can be changed at any time at the behest of DEFRA. The contract incorporates guidance and regulations that can be changed at any time without changing the contract. A constant set of moving goalposts, DEFRA really must think we are mugs.
Anyone disagree with that analysis?
@Janet Hughes Defra Would you care to comment?
Its the equivilent of putting your balls in a vice and turning the handle yourself.
Nobody in their right mind would sign it.
 

alomy75

Member
The problem there will be some who have never had a bad experience with them so maybe think it’s all going to be fine or they are a bit more in dept than some and need the cash so some will sign regardless
I signed up. Plus didn’t read all the T’s and C’s verbatim… all I needed to see was where it said that there would be no enforcement in the pilot as it’s a learning exercise. If everyone ignores it it WILL just go away and then we really will have nothing; we need a seat at the table if we expect to be heard and since practically I’m already doing everything I’m signed up for on sfi…why wouldn’t I? As a farmer I’m a businessman; my costs are going up so I need my income to go up to just stand still; it may not be a massive amount of cash to some but 5 figure amounts can’t be sniffed at in this household
 

redsloe

Member
Location
Cornwall
This agreement is a contract where the contractual obligations required of the farmer can be changed at any time at the behest of DEFRA. The contract incorporates guidance and regulations that can be changed at any time without changing the contract. A constant set of moving goalposts, DEFRA really must think we are mugs.
Anyone disagree with that analysis?
@Janet Hughes Defra Would you care to comment?
It is a pilot scheme. Same as using a prototype machine, it might not work as it should.

In TFFs q & a sessions defra promised to work with farmers to make it work without ridiculous penalties.

You don't believe them?

(Looking forward to Janet's reply!)
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
I signed up. Plus didn’t read all the T’s and C’s verbatim… all I needed to see was where it said that there would be no enforcement in the pilot as it’s a learning exercise. If everyone ignores it it WILL just go away and then we really will have nothing; we need a seat at the table if we expect to be heard and since practically I’m already doing everything I’m signed up for on sfi…why wouldn’t I? As a farmer I’m a businessman; my costs are going up so I need my income to go up to just stand still; it may not be a massive amount of cash to some but 5 figure amounts can’t be sniffed at in this household
Understood. Completely.

I expect that's the same as 95% of the other signatories.

Imho it's a huge risk though.

I can understand the need for flexibility in managing the pilots to be able to test out changes. If it was genuinely done in a spirit of "co- design" though I'd argue they didn't need such a biased clause.

My main worry is that they'll retain that clause when the scheme rolls out.
 

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