Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022

Sustainable farming incentive details published today 2 December 2021

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Vader

Member
Mixed Farmer
We won’t be using Red Tractor to perform them.

In the SFI document we explain that each SFI farmer will submit an annual declaration to confirm progress in delivering the agreement.

This primarily self-assessment approach will be backed up by site visit checks on a proportion of agreements each year.

We’ll also look to increase our use of remote monitoring (such as satellites) to increase efficiency and ease for farmers and Defra.
Sorry me again...
But remote monitoring is BAD...
I am i the process of going through every field on my farm, making maps and photo evidence to show the last muppet who looked at our farm via satellite made a right mess.

Rpa shows us having hundreds of meters of hedge where we never had any. Lot is a steep bank and made a shadow on picture.
They even put a hedge that don't exist as a double hedge!
We got mini grass strips what are ditches, permanent grass what are our wild bird feed blocks,
Etc etc
I rang up and told them.
I got to show proof I am right.
Apparently the fact the feed block was on my hls agreement and I have been paid and inspectored is not proof...

Oh, we also Apparently have a building in a field.. no its not a straw stack, its a building.
They never got in touch to check this stuff, just changed it on the system.
Now I have to spend days (we have a LOT of small fields.. ) filling in forms and taking photos and measurements to prove whats been there for probably 60years+
All because of remote satellite checking....

Sorry again to be negative, but this stuff is why myself and many farmers are never keen on joining schemes now unless their is a decent financial incentive as we know their going go be a lot of stress down the line...
 

Steevo

Member
Location
Gloucestershire
The problem with scientific evidence in farming, is that quite often is agenda based.
Farmers are seen as unqualified peasants and so their years of practice knowledge and experience in real world is ignored in favour of a officially qualified person , often doing research to prove a result they wish to see.
Data and info can be manipulated how they want. Real life results can not.

Example from a environmental side.
Early HLS i was having problems getting flower mixs to grow well. Did well enough to pass inspections, but thought could be better.
I did a couple of small blokes of my own outside the scheme my own way.
Worked great and inspector/ case manager was very impressed with them.
When I said it was my own method and asked if I could do it on the official HLS , o was told no, as its not best/proper way to do it as quantified by the experts...

You probably seen with many of my posts, I am deeply sceptical of defra/rpa.
To many times I have knocked back for wanting to do better than the official way.
Experts won't take note of farmers as if they do, it shows they not really experts and don't know their stuff.
So we end up with schemes that don't work great as made up by non farming folk who are trying to justify their job.

Very true indeed, especially the last two lines.

This is the reason I shall not be SFI and similar under any circumstances.
 

Vader

Member
Mixed Farmer
I had an inspection under the old scheme with 2m margins against watercourses, I measured them on the map, then used the defra online calculator when it first came out, both the same. The inspector came with a measing wheel and decided I was 40% short, apparently asking him for the calibration certificate for his wheel and asking him to test measure in the field over rough ground is not the thing to do. Luckily I just had enough points with hedges and a few field corners to scrape through, but it makes me reluctant to enter any more of their schemes
Been their...
Had rpa change field size from satellite.
Then inspector on ground said I had my field size wrong....
My total margin length was wrong they said, can not remember how short, but they alterd all paperwork and payment difference was less than a tenner on 10,000m+ of margins.
Can guarantee if they walked it again would get a different length as wheel not accurate on margins with Hedges round them.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
The Rural Payments Agency will deliver the SFI scheme, including monitoring arrangements. There are no plans at all to outsource any of that to private companies.
Hi Janet thank you for your reply, unfortunately "no plans" doesn't really overly inspire confidence as plans as we know seem to have a habit of changing rather quickly under this government, I would only be interested in considering committing to a fixed term contract if it was confirmed in the terms that monitoring would not change part way through, if there are as you say "no plans" I can't see why there would be any objection to this being inserted into the terms of any contract?
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
appologies if asked already but was does "add organic matter to 1/3 of the land in the standard each year" mean in practice? If I have access to 10T of OM I could put 1T/ha on 10ha or 100kg/ha on 100ha Spreading OM excessively thinly is just going to burn unnecessary diesel and cause unnecessary compaction.
 

Huno

Member
Arable Farmer
i guess i will find out soon - committed now !
I think it is really funny how farm contractors like Clive who probably were not in Enviroment schemes for the last 15yrs or more are now going to learn about Bureaucracy that makes Red Tractor look like a picnic! Yes Clive you will find by the end of the pilot that if time is money you will be below the minimum wage after you finish the pilot... have fun as it is a great badge of honour to help design a scheme. Those of us with CS and HLS schemes joined them with money and time as a secondary consideration.. enjoy your journey and please dont winge when it becomes too bureaucratic
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
A lot depends on the soil type.
Local to us had spuds in a big field other year. With the wet weather it looked wrecked when they were done.
Had a tractor towing harvester at times.
Water filled ruts, right mess.

They ploughed it early spring and looked a cracking spring barley crop.
Their WW this time looks good as well.
would never know it looked like a swamp couple years ago. Looks way better than ours!! They got nice soils, we got Outcrop...
What’s it done to soil OM levels and water infiltration rates?

What’s it done to soil microbiology?
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
i am sure we could have come up with some rules, now we can now set rules any rules we like now we are outside of the EU, to stop fake split ups. The old system and it’s rules had to please 27 counties now we only have to make it work for the UK.

the reality is while stopping cheats would be an ongoing problem the reality is if it only worked with 90% of farmers it would still have been a vast improvement and those 10% would be taken to task with new rules over time.

Fake fragmenting of big business Can be made very difficult with a few rules, and if they don’t work then add more to block the fake breakups.
The reality is no one tried, and what we have now will weaken farming if it’s not done correctly.
We need land in production we need food production increases over the next 20-30 years if we don’t see a big world population drop then we will need far more food than we produce now, so anything that reduces an already dwindling farming industry and reduces its ability to manage the land as actual agricultural land will not be a good thing long term.
I actually worry most about the animal sector, they seem to be under failure pressure from fake climate claims and the vegan brigade, and now with these new schemes, once animal populations drop bringing them back is no over night job neither is creating new farmers to farm them once they are gone, while I am arable, that doesn’t say that I am blind to the mistakes threatening my livestock brothers.

All these are reasons to allow smaller farmers to thrive and that also encourages more small farmers to start up especially in the livestock industry where slow scale up of farms is more possible unlike arable at this time.

With bit of encouragement from govermant new entrants using what is currently farmed by big growers to setup new farms for new entrants with incentives to either rent, tenant blocks out, sell small blocks, with the ability for the buyer to rent or tenant blocks to go with the sold block.
A lot of big farms include rented land even if only that was dropped by the big farmers it would change the industry.
Starting to sound abit communist, forcing people who at significant risk, cost and hard work over many years to give up land that is integral to their business.
We would be considered a big farm in that we manage quite a lot of acres, but we don’t own many, and my father started of with 80 acres in 1987 when the business started. Are you saying we should give up all the land we manage for others/rent and just farm our own 400 acres (much of which has a mortgage) and a lifetimes work and relationships gone like that to let someone else have a go by offering new entrants subsidy in order to undercut established businesses in both the rental and contract farming market?
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Biggest beneficiary will be the Duke of Englandshire. It will be worth having the £10 per acre if you have 30,000 acres particularly if you don’t have to test every acre. Worth sending an oik out on a gator. Sooner or later they will also introduce a payment for raising the OM level so those who have run levels down will have most room for improvement and most to gain after years of selling off every bit of straw and putting nothing back.
It will be like the hedge planting schemes. Those who bulldozed and burnt had biggest scope to claim to put them back in again.
That’s what wrong with subsidies. Sit on your arse and sooner or later the government will pay you to put things right. Do stuff on your own initiative using your own savings and nobody thanks you.
Just a comment. Not a criticism of Janet Hughes. No reply needed. Take it with a pinch of salt and all that. I won’t be participating, but good luck to those involved.
 

Huno

Member
Arable Farmer
That's a really fundamental point.

The evidence is growing just how damaging intense cultivation, as required for root crop and veg establishment, can be to soil biology. However, as you rightly say, the country needs a supply of these foods so they have to be grown somewhere. The best we can do is to try to minimise the impact of what we do.

I can recall fields looking like the Somme after we harvested sugar beet and getting forage maize off caused horrific damage some years.

Some folk are successfully direct drilling forage maize into retained ground cover but beet and veg crops just wouldn't compete.

Maybe growing them only as a single year in a long rotation is the best we can do? They are never going to fit into an SFI soils standard imho though.

DEFRA have made it clear that food supply security has nothing to do with ELMS. That could be its downfall in the end as it forces a choice between farming for the environment or for food production.
Industrial food production and environmental protection will always need to find a balance as they are different activities
 

redsloe

Member
Location
Cornwall
appologies if asked already but was does "add organic matter to 1/3 of the land in the standard each year" mean in practice? If I have access to 10T of OM I could put 1T/ha on 10ha or 100kg/ha on 100ha Spreading OM excessively thinly is just going to burn unnecessary diesel and cause unnecessary compaction.
I'd like to see you spread at 100kg/ha!
Let's not waste people's time on impossible scenarios.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
We won’t be using Red Tractor to perform them.

In the SFI document we explain that each SFI farmer will submit an annual declaration to confirm progress in delivering the agreement.

This primarily self-assessment approach will be backed up by site visit checks on a proportion of agreements each year.

We’ll also look to increase our use of remote monitoring (such as satellites) to increase efficiency and ease for farmers and Defra.
Well thats me out. Have had enough of remote monitoring from the Forestry Commission, total dick heads. Same with the annual declaration which you have to sign upto to get payment yet they have changed the contract so you would be stupid to sign. But if you dont sign you lose all payment as your deemed as a late application with 100% penalty. Totally no redress as their also Judge and Jury. Looks like the same system is now being extended to the rest of farming.
 

Huno

Member
Arable Farmer
We won’t be using Red Tractor to perform them.

In the SFI document we explain that each SFI farmer will submit an annual declaration to confirm progress in delivering the agreement.

This primarily self-assessment approach will be backed up by site visit checks on a proportion of agreements each year.

We’ll also look to increase our use of remote monitoring (such as satellites) to increase efficiency and ease for farmers and Defra.
How about using the GCHQ spy satillites to spot weed invasive species like naughty farmers using a lazer and then get a high resolution image to prove that the pest has been eliminated? This could be sent as a live feed via the DEFRA Blog so that well behaved farmers will meet or exceed the standards? Just an idea?
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Does "mulit species green cover" on 20% of the ground between December and Feb includes weeds in an autumn sown crop that has no Autumn herbicide? Failing that the extra £18/ha seems pretty derisory. Spring cropping, especially without frost weathered furrows, rarely gives a positive margin on our heavy soils.
 

Huno

Member
Arable Farmer
Does "mulit species green cover" on 20% of the ground between December and Feb includes weeds in an autumn sown crop that has no Autumn herbicide? Failing that the extra £18/ha seems pretty derisory. Spring cropping, especially without frost weathered furrows, rarely gives a positive margin on our heavy soils.
A weed is just a plant in the wrong place!! Its still green cover
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
I'd like to see you spread at 100kg/ha!
Let's not waste people's time on impossible scenarios.
:rolleyes: Well I was just using simple numbers to illustrate my point! If I set the discharge speed slow and drive fast and write applied 10T on 100ha in my diary.... Not all OM is cattle manure, it does say any kind of OM... 100Kg/ha might not actually be a silly rate if the material was sewage sludge pellets being applied through a fert spinner...

My point is encouraging growers to stretch their available OM over a larger area simple to tick a box for the scheme has the potential to be counter productive.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
To all the nay sayers on here, this thread was intended to allow transfer of information both ways through question and answer, to enable farmers or land managers to understand what the new schemes are likely to involve. Is it so impossible to do that without being so insulting and pointlessly rude?

It's going to be voluntary. That means if you don't like the look of it, there's no compulsion to join. It's that simple.

I happen to agree that the payments aren't very attractive, and past experience with rpa inspections may discourage some. You can make these points without being rude. It's embarrassing to read. We should be pleased that Defra have bothered to engage and we shouldn't put them off doing it again.
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
I don't see why they spread the payment out so thinly. At £10/acre its barely worth asking the question if it's worth applying to join.

All farms have bits of rough or waste ground. Set up a scheme that pays well for the poor areas that can be planted with covers or trees etc. And pay handsomely, like £1000's of pounds per ha not hundreds. Every farm has odd steep bank or funny shaped corners or water margins that can be properly cared for to benefit the environment. And if the payment is worth while there's more chance of it getting looked after well and meeting objectives. The rest of the productive land then doesn't need a payment, it's up to the farmer to farm it profitably within any legislative rules.
The large land owners don't necessarily get the biggest payments and you could possibly put a cap of 10% of farmed area into the scheme if over a certain size.
 
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Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

Image-source-Savills-field-640x360.jpg
Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...
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