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Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot launched

Last updated: 11 Mar 2021

Defra has published details of the new Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot and confirmed expressions of interest for the pilot will open from Monday 15 March. To read more on Defra’s announcement click here.

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The Sustainable Farming Incentive is one of three new schemes, alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes, both of which we will begin piloting next year.

The incentive will support approaches to farming that deliver for the environment, such as actions to improve soil health, hedgerows and integrated pest management.

The initial stage of the pilot will involved several hundred of farmers, Defra is encouraging farmers to get involved and apply for the pilot. Then, in 2022 they will start to roll out the scheme, which will initially be available to Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) recipients.

Defra has provided a brief overview of the first eight standards to be tested by the pilot. These give a flavour of the actions required and the environmental outcomes.

  • Arable and horticultural land standard
  • Arable and horticultural soils standard
  • Improved grassland standard
  • Improved grassland soils standard
  • Low and no input grassland standard
  • Hedgerow standard
  • On-farm woodland standard
  • Waterbody buffering standard

Capital items will be available to support all the standards, items will include planting new hedges, filling gaps in hedgerows, tree planting, fencing, and livestock water troughs. The full detail on each standard will be released before the application window starts in June 2021.

You can read further information on each standard here.