Sustainable Farming Incentive Deadline Looming

Is anyone actually going to apply for this as the time to do so is now very short?
I put in an initial application, but on looking through all the details for what will be a relatively small area of land that is not in CS and is grassland only, the amount of information required and admin time taken up for what appears to be a pittance makes me think I will be better off leaving it until others on a larger scale have tested it.

Is it better on an arable system?
Will there be enough people apply initially to make it work? I certainly couldn't consider paying an Agent to do this for me as it would be a cost to the business.
 
Similarly I expressed an interest and am intending on going through the process. I’ve had phone calls to encourage me to submit my application but like most the time to go through it all properly is limited.
My initial opinion is that as a farming business I’m more than happy to increase any management actions to protect the soil but restricting my cutting dates as an example isn’t going to get any further than the basic tier which on balance over the acreage I farm in comparison to BPS or wildlife offers is not worth the risk of jeopardising the livestock balance.
 

Hawkes

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
devon
Is anyone actually going to apply for this as the time to do so is now very short?
I put in an initial application, but on looking through all the details for what will be a relatively small area of land that is not in CS and is grassland only, the amount of information required and admin time taken up for what appears to be a pittance makes me think I will be better off leaving it until others on a larger scale have tested it.

Is it better on an arable system?
Will there be enough people apply initially to make it work? I certainly couldn't consider paying an Agent to do this for me as it would be a cost to the business.
There has been a lot of discussion in the "For those that farm under 200 acres" thread on this. I for one started full of enthusiasm but have decided not to enter the pilot after being picked. It is far too intrusive, requires so much more paperwork, expense and complication for an aged one man band to be bothered with. I spent a couple of days trying to figure out what would be worth doing, my list of extra records and assessments got longer and longer in direct inverse proportion to my interest. I suppose I should have stuck it out, but better things to be doing.
Several others are cracking on with it, they probably have better paper trails already in place than me, I guess that is the difference.
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
I registered for the pilot but most of our fields have some sort of CSS element, so not really worth doing for what’s left.
 
There has been a lot of discussion in the "For those that farm under 200 acres" thread on this. I for one started full of enthusiasm but have decided not to enter the pilot after being picked. It is far too intrusive, requires so much more paperwork, expense and complication for an aged one man band to be bothered with. I spent a couple of days trying to figure out what would be worth doing, my list of extra records and assessments got longer and longer in direct inverse proportion to my interest. I suppose I should have stuck it out, but better things to be doing.
Several others are cracking on with it, they probably have better paper trails already in place than me, I guess that is the difference.
I have a friend who works for a Govt Agency... who reminded me that when the Arable Pilot scheme was launched back in the 90s, renumeration reflected the work and hassle...

6 months ago, he expressed the view that the SFI Pilot might struggle because of lack of such a payment!
 

rusty

Member
I have registered for the pilot. We are predominantly grass with some whole crop wheat, grazing based dairy. Despite rotational grazing , direct drilling grass reseeds the grasslands standards are a none starter. The mid level requires 1st cut at the end of May and then second cut at least 8 weeks later so rules my multi cut system out. The lowest tier only pays £27/Ha and is not worth the agro and work for what it pays.
The soils standards I should be able to do but I am put of by the amount of initial recording needed. It would help if there was a template to fill in for what they require but I haven't found anything yet. I am rapidly loosing the enthusiasm to apply.
 

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
I have expressed an interest in the pilot and am due to take part in a monitored application process.Despite having registered my interest and made an appointment I have had a number of reminder emails and a couple of phone calls about the impending deadline.which suggests they are scratching around for participants.I have left it to the last moment to,study the scheme in depth being conscious of what appears to be a changing picture.
I have never relied on BPS to underpin my business, it has been used for projects or saved.
I have concluded that the scheme does not provide adequate rewards for handing over control of the land I farm to DEFRA.
It appears to me that they want to micromanage from a Whitehall desk my all grass farm with no regard to the changes in management I might want to make having regard to the variables we all contend with as farmers and this could impact the profitablilty of my business with no adequate compensation.
The gross income I might achieve will in no way compensate for the flexibility I will forego and the £5K for being part of the pilot will likely be scant reward for having to dance to the tune of the bureaucrats that infest DEFRA in what appears to be an open ended commitment of my time.
In Dragons Den style I’M OUT! I wonder if they will bother to ask why?
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
I have expressed an interest in the pilot and am due to take part in a monitored application process.Despite having registered my interest and made an appointment I have had a number of reminder emails and a couple of phone calls about the impending deadline.which suggests they are scratching around for participants.I have left it to the last moment to,study the scheme in depth being conscious of what appears to be a changing picture.
I have never relied on BPS to underpin my business, it has been used for projects or saved.
I have concluded that the scheme does not provide adequate rewards for handing over control of the land I farm to DEFRA.
It appears to me that they want to micromanage from a Whitehall desk my all grass farm with no regard to the changes in management I might want to make having regard to the variables we all contend with as farmers and this could impact the profitablilty of my business with no adequate compensation.
The gross income I might achieve will in no way compensate for the flexibility I will forego and the £5K for being part of the pilot will likely be scant reward for having to dance to the tune of the bureaucrats that infest DEFRA in what appears to be an open ended commitment of my time.
In Dragons Den style I’M OUT! I wonder if they will bother to ask why?
According to @Clive they don't need to ask you specifically,your being watched while in TFF!
 

Jon 2166

Member
Arable Farmer
Expressed an interest and was accepted for the pilot. Spent an hour looking at the arable options and running some calculations. I would be losing or at best breaking even. This does not take into account the restrictions of the scheme and the risks. I am experimenting with min-till but want to do it my way. To be honest, the money being offered is verging on the insulting. Very disappointed, so have declined to go further. Shows how little DEFRA and the Government really care about food and the environment. They spend less on food and the environment in a single year than the NHS spend in about 3 days. I suspect UK farmers will get the blame for not applying and not caring about the environment.
 

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
. I suspect UK farmers will get the blame for not applying and not caring about the environment.
I ask myself has the SFI scheme been designed to fail?
In the case of a livestock farm with permanent pasture what are they seeking to achieve and how will they measure it?
While I have probably missed something having been demoralised by the level of micro management but if I knew what they were going to measure I could then decide how I manage my farm to deliver.
As happens with much of what the civil service spend their time doing the process is more important than the product. They are conditioned to make the delivery of any target far more complicated than it need be and in this case I am not clear what the target is.
They have made all the right noises regarding consultation but have ignored the fact that each farm is different and more particularly cannot be managed along a prescriptive choice of dates by a Whitehall desk jockey.
When subsidies are dished out to other industries I doubt there is the level of detail required as is expected with SFI. In the case of a grass farm this seeks to micro manage down to the dates on which grass is cut, how many species to the square metre and how long the grass should be grazed down to, The last bit suggests I have control over which bits the cows decide to graze and how close to the ground they choose to eat it off.
In the case of The Sustainable Farming Initiative pilot I appear to be asked to sign up to a contract where DEFRA can amend or break that contract with no cost to themselves while I am committed to being expected to dance to whatever tune a 9 to 5 civil servant decides might be a good idea dreamt up around the coffee machine.
 
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holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
I ask myself has the SFI scheme been designed to fail?
As happens with much of what the civil service spend their time doing the process is more important than the product. They are conditioned to make the delivery of any target far more complicated than it need be.
They have made all the right noises regarding consultation but have ignored the fact that each farm is different and more particularly cannot be managed along a prescriptive choice of dates by a Whitehall desk jockey.
When subsidies are dished out to other industries I doubt there is the level of detail required as is expected with SFI. In the case of a grass farm this seeks to micro manage down to the dates on which grass is cut, how many species to the square metre and how long the grass should be grazed down to, The last bit suggests I have control over which bits the cows decide to graze and how close to the ground they choose to eat it off.
In the case of The Sustainable Farming Initiative pilot I appear to be asked to sign up to a contract where DEFRA can amend or break that contract with no cost to themselves while I am committed to being expected to dance to whatever tune a 9 to 5 civil servant decides might be a good idea dreamt up around the coffee machine.
I've repeatedly made this point in responses about farming needing flexibility in how to deliver the desired outcomes. It seems DEFRA (including their "family" agencies) just can't see a way to manage that flexibility.

It's indicative of the whole way our environment is regulated.

It's stupid to have a calender date for open and closed seasons (whether FYM spreading, cutting hedges or taking hay cuts) unless seen from a purely bureaucratic viewpoint as, we all know, seasons vary. It's much harder to regulate a flexible target though.

This contributes significantly to the poor delivery of all our past environmental schemes.

The lesson just isn't being learnt.
 

Rob Garrett

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Derbyshire UK
Is anyone actually going to apply for this as the time to do so is now very short?
I put in an initial application, but on looking through all the details for what will be a relatively small area of land that is not in CS and is grassland only, the amount of information required and admin time taken up for what appears to be a pittance makes me think I will be better off leaving it until others on a larger scale have tested it.

Is it better on an arable system?
Will there be enough people apply initially to make it work? I certainly couldn't consider paying an Agent to do this for me as it would be a cost to the business.
Today's job is fill out the application. Looking through the standards & payments it's total pants & too bloody completed.

But it's a PILOT, so looking forward to giving DEFRA feedback & being paid for it!
 

NI agri-food stakeholder groups discuss climate change bill with committee

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Written by Richard Halleron from Agriland

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) recently submitted oral evidence to members of the Stormont Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) committee on the content and potential impact of the Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill (No.2).

This draft legislation was recently introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in conjunction with agriculture minister, Edwin Poots.

“We were accompanied by representatives from a wide range of food industry bodies, including the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association,the Ulster Farmers’ Union [UFU], Northern...
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