Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022

Sustainable farming incentive details published today 2 December 2021

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I was in css for 15 years. 5 year phases. The last year I had a inspection in September and asked the inspector if everything was in order as he left. Nodded his head. Week later I had a bill for 32k. To be payed 28 days. The inspector couldn’t find 10 hectares of overwintering stubble in a 44 hectare field which was going into spring barley. Had to sell 300 tonne of wheat in a panic.Didn’t put any white sticks out. 50% of the css is still there today. Because I think it does good for the farm. And it’s my kind of goodwill gesture too nature. that fine which was resolved 5 month later left a bad taste. We have a 300 hectare farm and if the farm cannot make a living without handouts in the future. Then there 8 million reasons too let someone else have ago. My though is if farmers get the right sustainable amount for there grains,milk,meat products there more likely give more to nature. It’s a win win. Not begging for handouts. I’d like to think I’m a proper farmer. And not someone who’s there to rape the land. Like most of us I would imagine.
I'm really sorry to read this. I realise it doesn't help your case, but we are changing the rules and the way we operate to remove this sort of risk for people coming into schemes. We've changed the rules on countryside stewardship inspections and penalties, and we won't be using penalties in SFI - we will help people to get back on track (unless they're actually committing fraud, obviously)
 
And would those standards and ambitions be Defra's 'options', and a tag on to existing agreements?
Been caught like that before. :rolleyes:

And the Soil organic matter calculations for every parcel - what happens if, despite all your best efforts, the level drops?
Yes you'll be able to add the new standards to your existing SFI agreement - you can add more parcels, levels of ambition and standards each year. You can also have both a CS and SFI agreement on the same parcel, so long as we're not paying for the same actions twice, and so long as the actions are compatible.

There aren't any payments or penalties associated with the level of organic matter going up or down (in fact we're not using penalties at all). The purpose of soil organic matter (SOM) testing is to help you understand the health of your soil. By doing the actions in the standards, organic matter levels should rise over time. But, if not, this is something you need to know because it will help you decide what action you need to take to improve soil health.
 
Where the scheme says test organic matter. What are you supposed to do with the results and are they supposed to increase every year or you get your money deducted .
There's no payment (or penalty) associated with your levels of soil organic matter.

The purpose of soil organic matter (SOM) testing is to help you understand the health of your soil. By doing the actions in the standards, organic matter levels should rise over time. But, if not, this is something you need to know because it will help you decide what action you need to take to improve soil health.
 
@Janet Hughes Defra any further details on what would constitute a “multi species green cover” for the intermediate arable soil scheme?
The detailed description section doesn’t currently give any details on it.
We'll cover this in the guidance but we won't be setting a prescription that you have to follow, we'll provide guidance and it will be up to you to decide what's the best mix and the best approach for your farm.
 
We were one of the first farms to go into stewardship in 1991, we are currently rolling over a hls/els agreement and don't want to enter CS because it would mean a drop in money. It's a bit sickening after 30 years of 'doing the right thing' to get pushed to the back of the que.
We absolutely don't want you to be at the back of the queue - we've been reviewing CS payment rates and will publish the new rates in the new year - worth you keeping an eye out for that as it might change your options. We'll provide a smooth way for you to transfer into new schemes when they're ready.
 
W
I am hoping that the reality of a less than enthusiastic response from farmers, will lead to substantial funding being vired from Tiers 2 and 3 to the SFI.

Maybe then, SFI can be made to work for both farmers and to meet the targets of DEFRA?
We are certainly reading all the feedback carefully and will continue to learn and improve on that basis - eg here is a post explaining what we've changed so far based on feedback: https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/12/02/sfi-standards/
 
We absolutely don't want you to be at the back of the queue - we've been reviewing CS payment rates and will publish the new rates in the new year - worth you keeping an eye out for that as it might change your options. We'll provide a smooth way for you to transfer into new schemes when they're ready.
I’m not understanding why there should be a queue - surely if there is a rate for an option then that rate would be available for all who can comply ?
 

spin cycle

Member
Location
north norfolk
W

We are certainly reading all the feedback carefully and will continue to learn and improve on that basis - eg here is a post explaining what we've changed so far based on feedback: https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/12/02/sfi-standards/

um :scratchhead: ...looking at the 'payment rates' they seem to be between 12-33% of old bps payment..........so circa estimate £500 million out of the bps budget £1.8 billion.....so where's the other £1.3 billion going?
 
Yes you'll be able to add the new standards to your existing SFI agreement - you can add more parcels, levels of ambition and standards each year. You can also have both a CS and SFI agreement on the same parcel, so long as we're not paying for the same actions twice, and so long as the actions are compatible.

There aren't any payments or penalties associated with the level of organic matter going up or down (in fact we're not using penalties at all). The purpose of soil organic matter (SOM) testing is to help you understand the health of your soil. By doing the actions in the standards, organic matter levels should rise over time. But, if not, this is something you need to know because it will help you decide what action you need to take to improve soil

Thankyou Janet. I understand that we as farmers could add options to an existing agreement.
My question was, could Defra?
 

redsloe

Member
Location
Cornwall
On that basis Miscanthus must be the sustainability wet dream ….
No annual fertiliser, 100% ground cover all year round, annual deposits of leaf matter improving organic matter in the soul and sequestering carbon into the bargain….!
Looks like only the 2 of us here!😂

Seems completely mad that there's nothing for it yet.

Although why would there be? Mines been doing its own thing for 18 years already.
 
Looks like only the 2 of us here!😂

Seems completely mad that there's nothing for it yet.

Although why would there be? Mines been doing its own thing for 18 years already.
Been doing it’s own on reclaimed pit stacks relying on BPS for reasonable viability though since 2007/8.
Would like to be able to justify trialling the new Miscanthus (Athena hybrids) on the areas where the cover is currently less than ideal.

 
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delilah

Member
There aren't any payments or penalties associated with the level of organic matter going up or down (in fact we're not using penalties at all). The purpose of soil organic matter (SOM) testing is to help you understand the health of your soil. By doing the actions in the standards, organic matter levels should rise over time. But, if not, this is something you need to know because it will help you decide what action you need to take to improve soil health.

The purpose of soil organic matter (SOM) testing is to help you understand the health of your soil. By doing the actions in the standards, organic matter levels should rise over time. But, if not, this is something you need to know because it will help you decide what action you need to take to improve soil health.

Please don't take this personally, because it is genuinely aimed at Defra as a whole:

The arrogance in this attitude towards farmers and their understanding of their soil is breathtaking. Matched only by the complete and utter pointlessness of a measure which, by your own admission, is not tied in any way to the payment.
 

delilah

Member

Humble Village Farmer

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NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
How long before the published payment rates are reviewed? They don't look very competitive when compared to commercial farming. Does it reflect defra's opinion that farm profitability will remain at levels we have seen over the last few years? What I mean is that in 10 year's time I hope we will be doing better than we are at the moment which will mean the payment for these various options will be very unattractive.
 

Velcro Gloves

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’m not understanding why there should be a queue - surely if there is a rate for an option then that rate would be available for all who can comply ?
Farmer's with all or some hls permanent pasture have to wait in the que until a permanent pasture option opens in 2024.
 
Please don't take this personally, because it is genuinely aimed at Defra as a whole:

The arrogance in this attitude towards farmers and their understanding of their soil is breathtaking. Matched only by the complete and utter pointlessness of a measure which, by your own admission, is not tied in any way to the payment.


If you did create payments and penalties it would create a lot of problems for any farmer changing lays, ploughing old grassland, taking straw, chopping straw etc.

The decision process would be then put into bureacratic hands who would tie a farmers hands to a process.

In other words what you want is not viable - unless you were running a conservation site not a farm.
 

topground

Member
Location
North Somerset.
How long before the published payment rates are reviewed? They don't look very competitive when compared to commercial farming. Does it reflect defra's opinion that farm profitability will remain at levels we have seen over the last few years? What I mean is that in 10 year's time I hope we will be doing better than we are at the moment which will mean the payment for these various options will be very unattractive.
@Humble Village Farmer I am interested in your calculations that the published SFI payment rates are in any way competitive leave alone not very, when compared with commercial farming particularly on an all grass farm. How much per hectare would it be worth to you to hand over substantial elements of the management of your land to the civil service?
 
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