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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

The Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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An image of rolling green hills

Farming trade media have covered the publication of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot overview. This includes an interview with Farming Minister Victoria Prentis on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today and online articles in Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, AgriLand, Pig World, Business Green, Farming UK and Cornish and Devon Post.

Farmers are being encouraged to take part in the pilot of the Sustainable Farming Incentive – the next step in the Government’s landmark plans to reward farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices.

Details of the new scheme have been published today (Wednesday 10 March) and expressions of interest for the pilot will open from Monday 15 March.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first of three schemes to be piloted and co-designed. Further information on the other two schemes, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery, will be shared later this year.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“The ethos at the heart of our future policy is to support the choices of individual farm enterprises.

“The Sustainable Farming Incentive will support the environment and promote animal welfare. It will reward approaches to farm husbandry such as encouraging integrated pest management, improving soil health and enhancing hedgerows.

“Assets that were previously dubbed ‘ineligible features’ will finally have their value recognised and rewarded. I would encourage farmers to engage in this pilot to help us design the new scheme.

Farmers will need to complete a short, simple online form to submit expressions of interest in taking part in the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.”

Successful candidates will then be invited to complete their application and, if eligible, they will enter into a pilot agreement starting from October 2021. This initial stage will be open to several hundred farmers, reflecting England’s distribution of farm types and locations.

Pilot participants will be asked to take part in a range of co-design activities, providing rapid feedback on their experience of all aspects of the process - from pre-application to implementing their agreements. This will ensure the scheme is fully workable and user-friendly once fully rolled out from 2024.

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