Published: 19/07/2023 By Chris Powell
In June, we saw an unexpected U-turn on the government SFI scheme. Agents and farmers up and down the country are now better placed to understand the funding principles.
“Pick n Mix” is what we are hearing now with a “bigger and more flexible” tagline, but does it deliver?
Chris Powell, Rural Partner in our Devizes has been advising clients on the changes. “You won’t normally hear an agent praise the RPA, but the new SFI looks like it will work; it’s like a baby brother to the CSS mid-tier scheme. in the last 3 weeks, I have sat with several clients who are looking at new CSS mid-tiers or renewals and we have managed to put together a combination of the two schemes that are; easy to manage, complement their business and are financially rewarding.
“The majority of farmers will be able to achieve a base level of SFI built mostly on paperwork and compliance including options like IPM1 (integrated pest management plan), NUM1 (Nutrient management plan) and SAM1 (soil organic testing) before adding in further options such as SAM2 (Multi-species cover crops), AHL3 (Grassy field corners) and LIGL1 (manage grassland with low inputs). Even with the basic level options, there is potentially £2,500 per annum available."
Applications for the new SFI open in August this year after the CSS mid-tier deadline. Chris warns that “it is incredibly important that consideration is given to SFI when preparing CSS applications, as some options will be better for management in the SFI than CSS”
To ensure that you are taking full advantage of the SFI schemes, please contact Chris Powell on 01380 710536 , or contact a member of our Rural Grants team (below) in your nearest office.