SFI Pilot questions / thoughts

delilah

Member
Listening to the TFA webinar this evening, there’s definitely a lot of unrest and confusion amongst tenant farmers.
Janets very good at answering questions without actually saying much.
For instance one small grass upland farmer had worked out that they could only really access the first tier without turning 10% of their land into scrub, with a detrimental affect on the profitability and the bird life. They would then only get just over £900 for the whole farm, which was 10% of their current BPS.
My worry is it’ll be too late for a lot of farms before Defra have sorted anything workable .

Thing is, where are the alternative proposals from the national representative bodies ?
TFA ?
NFU ?
NBA ?
NSA ?
Can someone share the proposals they have put forward to Janet Hughes ?
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
Thing is, where are the alternative proposals from the national representative bodies ?
TFA ?
NFU ?
NBA ?
NSA ?
Can someone share the proposals they have put forward to Janet Hughes ?

Why not pay and become a member, you would then know what they are proposing for their members?
 

delilah

Member
Why not pay and become a member, you would then know what they are proposing for their members?

A genuinely rubbish answer. I am a member of one of them, i've seen nothing worth sharing. If there are concrete suggestions from those 4 bodies that have been put forward to Janet Hughes, then it would be a tremendous help for everyone on here if they were shared.

I was once given some very sound advice: If you can't say it on one side of A4 then don't say it.
Where are the single side summaries from those 4 representative bodies saying what the SFI should look like ?
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
A genuinely rubbish answer. I am a member of one of them, i've seen nothing worth sharing. If there are concrete suggestions from those 4 bodies that have been put forward to Janet Hughes, then it would be a tremendous help for everyone on here if they were shared.

I was once given some very sound advice: If you can't say it on one side of A4 then don't say it.
Where are the single side summaries from those 4 representative bodies saying what the SFI should look like ?

Well that's your opinion of their suggestion.

Hope you have given them feedback on that.

Member organisations don't produce information for non members.

Ask Arla, National agricultural contractors ,or the road haulage association free access to their member pages.
I'll hazard a guess at their answer. No.

Many newspapers are now behind paywalls to prevent free access.
It's not rocket science.


As for a one page summary on SFI, given its complexity with various sectors of UK ag plc I think your dreaming.
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Income foregone is not enough.

You are a clever chap Clive, why should they expect to employ your management skills for free?
Who else delivering ELMS/SFI is working for nothing?
Can you call anyone at Defra or the RPA at home on the weekend for some advice?

And you are the only one in the chain that carries any responsibility. There is every chance that they can refuse payment or demand money back should your scheme fail to meet its aims.

You also need to factor in the loss of potential opportunities. The land will not be available for other uses for many years and there is considerable cost to returning them to productivity afterwards IF THEY ALLOW you.

As I've said, "Income foregone is not enough."

My management skill etc is covered by income forgone if calculated correctly - ie at the moment my “skill” and assets grow 3-4t /ac of wheat im just as happy to use my skill and asset to grow the SAME value of environmental good


the payment equation is simple for land expected to come out of production

2-3t wheat market price - crop input costs + sfi input costs = income forgone


at the moment it’s miles away from that so SFI expects charity from applicants……….. not happening !
 

Cowski

Member
Location
South West
Bottom line is that payment rates are not high enough to encourage uptake.

Is this because they are basing income foregone on ‘average’ figures and we need to demonstrate that it should be based on ‘top 25%’ because that is the potential of the land and not the actuality.

I also dislike the ‘iterative’ approach whereby DEFRA can change the rules continuously. If the scheme is well designed in the first instance it shouldn’t need changing.

On a positive note, a lot of the outcomes and actions in the scheme are really moving ag in a more sustainable direction which is good imo
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
@Clive you are missing the crucial point which is that for large farms like you run you can just about make the scheme workable but for the tens of thousands of smaller family farms across the UK both the payment rates/ red tape and rules of this scheme mean as it stands is totally unworkable/ unviable and will DRIVE THESE SMALL FAMILY FARMS ( that have been the backbone of the industry for century's ) OUT OF THE INDUSTRY!

it as simple as that!

And do not forget Clive that these smaller family farms that you and the NFU seem so keen to drive out of the industry buy millions of tonnes of UK grain to feed their beef cattle/sheep etc etc, if these farmers are driven out of the industry and the meat is replaced with sub standard imports ( which the NFU/RT are endorsing should happen ) then the demand/ price for your grain will be a LOT less than it currently is and then even for you the ELMS scheme wont add up....

my farm is a small / medium sized family farm, most land we grow crops on belongs to others, we do not claim bps on that land and will not see SFI from it either

uk Ag should stand on its own 2 feet, I do not believe in subsidies at all and never have - however if DEFRA want to effectively “rent” my land and management for environmental gain they are welcome to AS LONG AS they pay at least the same as I can make growing crops on that land

right now the “rent” they are offering is not competitive so they simply won’t get it until it is
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Bottom line is that payment rates are not high enough to encourage uptake.

Is this because they are basing income foregone on ‘average’ figures and we need to demonstrate that it should be based on ‘top 25%’ because that is the potential of the land and not the actuality.

I also dislike the ‘iterative’ approach whereby DEFRA can change the rules continuously. If the scheme is well designed in the first instance it shouldn’t need changing.

On a positive note, a lot of the outcomes and actions in the scheme are really moving ag in a more sustainable direction which is good imo

it’s not even close to average imo, not sure how they have this aspect so wrong as the actions / principles of the scheme are good

will mean nothing if uptake is low, which it will. be as farmers can not afford to subside this which seems to be the current expectation
 

Cowski

Member
Location
South West
it’s not even close to average imo, not sure how they have this aspect so wrong as the actions / principles of the scheme are good

will mean nothing if uptake is low, which it will. be as farmers can not afford to subside this which seems to be the current expectation
DEFRA want to spend this money, it’s been ring-fenced within this government. If it’s not spent (low uptake) treasury will potentially reduce the budget saying UK farmers haven’t taken funding offered.

The step change is from a subsidised industry to an industry providing an environmental service. Government have to show that this payment for environmental services is not propping up ag production as this jeopardises international trade deals. Therefore it’s catch 22. I’m struggling in my head to see how this plays out and unfortunately don’t know enough about international trade law to have a valid view point. There is an awful lot on George Eustice’s shoulders at the moment and he’s not being politically clever enough at the moment within cabinet to get the best deal for UK ag I’m afraid.
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
DEFRA don’t listen to these groups anymore than they do anyone else. We have all had opportunities as individuals to influence this
Linked to SFI - released today on DEFRA website...

Environmental land management needs to deliver for farmers, foresters and land managers. Because it’s a big and complex area, it’s tempting to consider these groups of people separately, but for our policies and schemes to truly work, we need to bring the expertise from these groups together.

So that’s what we did. The Environmental Land Management Engagement Group (EEG) is another way that we’re doing co-design.

Check out the group's composition - farming not overly represented!!


Our members
  • Adrian Steele – Soil Association
  • Alice Groom – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
  • Alastair Leake – Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)
  • Andrew Pearson – Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC)
  • Arlin Rickard – Catchment Based Approach (CaBA)
  • Barnaby Coupe – Wildlife Trust
  • Caroline Ayre – Confo
  • Christopher Stopes – English Organic Forum and Organic Farmers & Growers C.I.C.
  • Claire Robinson – National Farmers Union
  • Helen Chesshire and Emily Hunter – Woodland Trus
  • Graeme Willis – The Countryside Charity
  • Hannah Conway – Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL)
  • Harry Greenfield – Country Land & Business Association Limited (CLA
  • Jenny Phelps – Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG)
  • Jeremy Moody – The Central Association for Agricultural Valuers (CAAV)
  • Julia Aglionby – Uplands Alliance and Foundation for Common Land
  • Jyoti Fernandes – Landworkers' Allianc
  • Lucy Bates – Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF)
  • Lynette Steel – Tenant Farmer Association (TFA
  • Maddy Fitzgerald – The Prince's Countryside Fund
  • Marcus Gilleard – National Trust
  • Martin Lines – Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN)
  • Neville Elstone – Institute of Chartered Foresters
  • Pete Gaskell – Heritage Alliance
  • Phil Stocker – National Sheep Association (NSA)
  • Roz Bulleid – Green Alliance
  • Tom Stuart – World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Vicki Hird – Sustain

And yet they are all in (bold) the above group but they don't listen to them?

So why would DEFRA set up the above group if they aren't going to listen to them ?

Did your invite get lost in cyberspace?

We all had the chance as individuals to feed into the tb review.

Fat lot of good we did as individuals in that!
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
DEFRA want to spend this money, it’s been ring-fenced within this government. If it’s not spent (low uptake) treasury will potentially reduce the budget saying UK farmers haven’t taken funding offered.

The step change is from a subsidised industry to an industry providing an environmental service. Government have to show that this payment for environmental services is not propping up ag production as this jeopardises international trade deals. Therefore it’s catch 22. I’m struggling in my head to see how this plays out and unfortunately don’t know enough about international trade law to have a valid view point. There is an awful lot on George Eustice’s shoulders at the moment and he’s not being politically clever enough at the moment within cabinet to get the best deal for UK ag I’m afraid.

public goods at commercial prices should be the mantra - this is not a sub, it’s payment for a important service

without that SFI is going to be a complete fail
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
And yet they are all in (bold) the above group but they don't listen to them?

So why would DEFRA set up the above group if they aren't going to listen to them ?

Did your invite get lost in cyberspace?

We all had the chance as individuals to feed into the tb review.

Fat lot of good we did as individuals in that!

its still in pilot stage so we can still influence

DEFRA will be montoring this thread, I’m sure they maybe a little concerned at feedback so far and maybe thinking they need look more closely at numbers if they want any one to actually do this

Janet Hughes TFF q&a on the 11th - I will start a thread asking for questions but I have a feeling this q&a maybe a little more awkward than previous ones !
 

AT Aloss

Member
BASE UK Member
Haha they aren’t even close but as we don’t use for anything I have never bothered fixing them as I know it would take about 300 rle1 for them to get it right

I have one 8 acre field that is continuous hedge on 3 sides and is 32 hedge segments on the rural payments map
I'm pleased that someone else is in the same boat (said the travellers on the Titanic!)
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
its still in pilot stage so we can still influence

DEFRA will be montoring this thread, I’m sure they maybe a little concerned at feedback so far and maybe thinking they need look more closely at numbers if they want any one to actually do this

Janet Hughes TFF q&a on the 11th - I will start a thread asking for questions but I have a feeling this q&a maybe a little more awkward than previous ones !

I sincerely hope that DEFRA can and do make the SFI/ELMS work, but I am afraid that until they understand properly, the concerns of the only real Stakeholders in the game, aka Landowners and Farmers, the schemes will struggle to gain widespread acceptance. Well meaning quangos and NGO's tell us what we must do and how to do it, but lack any experience in the reality that is a farming business.

I have had 25 years of experience of Stewardship schemes, initially all pretty positive. Latterly not so enthusiastic, and I had a complete disinterest in renewing my CSS or going for a new Mid Tier, this Autumn.

Same thoughts on SFI Pilot. Too much pettifogging nonsense for nowhere near enough return I felt initially. The more I have seen and read about the SFI Pilot confirms my concerns.
 

delilah

Member
Well that's your opinion of their suggestion.

Hope you have given them feedback on that.

Member organisations don't produce information for non members.

Ask Arla, National agricultural contractors ,or the road haulage association free access to their member pages.
I'll hazard a guess at their answer. No.

Many newspapers are now behind paywalls to prevent free access.
It's not rocket science.


As for a one page summary on SFI, given its complexity with various sectors of UK ag plc I think your dreaming.

Gove announced ELMS, what, 3 years ago ? All of the representative bodies should have been right at it, saying what they wanted it to look like. Being proactive. Instead all we are getting is reactive. We don't like this, we don't like that. I have a degree of sympathy for Defra, it must be very difficult when all they get is whingeing.
Show me anyone's suggestions as to what the SFI should look like and I would happily summarize it on a single side of A4.
 
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Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
One of those members is an NFU representative. They probably have a very large interest compared to the rest of the people in that group and should carry a lot of weight. That is what the NFU is actually for isn't it?!

as far as I can tell the NFU just wanted a new sub to replace BPS - that was never going to happen

about as realistic as getting imported food banned

their expectations are simply unrealistic so are no longer taken seriously by policy makers from what I can tell / am told

their lack of ability to find compromise or workable solutions is making them obsolete
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
as far as I can tell the NFU just wanted a new sub to replace BPS - that was never going to happen

about as realistic as getting imported food banned

their expectations are simply unrealistic so are no longer taken seriously by policy makers from what I can tell / am told

their lack of ability to find compromise or workable solutions is making them obsolete
Agree with this. Completely un realistic and they seem to still have this post war attitude (which many farmers also have) that they and farmers are the most important people in the world. Farming social media is riddled with it.
 

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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