Government unveils bigger subsidies for farmers

12th February 2024

The government have announced an expansion to the farming schemes being offered under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (“SFI”) scheme. The larger and more varied subsidies than those initially proposed are aimed at increasing participation in the Environmental Land Management schemes (“ELMs”).

The updates under the government’s agricultural transition will increase the incentives for farmers to engage in sustainable farming practices and support the greater use of agricultural technology.

The average value of agreements from the SFI and Country Stewardship (“CS”) scheme will increase by 10% to reflect ‘current market conditions’. Uplifts will be automatically applied to existing agreements. Farmers will have the option to be paid for around 50 new actions, including for agroforestry, soil health and precision and agricultural technology.

There will be premium payments for actions with the biggest environmental impact, or combinations of actions which deliver benefits at scale. Also introduced are maintenance actions aimed at paying farmers who are already performing actions to protect and promote the natural environment.

A single streamlined application process for both the SFI and CS mid-tier schemes will also be introduced. This is aimed at simplifying the process and reducing the duplication of offerings between the two schemes.

The reforms are intended to benefit all farm types and sizes. For example, the offer increases the accessibility of the scheme for tenant farmers by including more actions for short-term agreements of up to three years.

Free advice from independent providers is being offered to assist farmers in understanding the scheme and available actions, and with the application process.

You can read the full list of actions in full here.