DEFRA has recently released the updated Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) 2023, offering detailed information on the actions eligible for payment. This new and improved SFI presents farmers with a wider array of actions and increased flexibility in selecting the actions for which they wish to receive payment and which area of land to do each action on. The 23 actions include new actions on Integrated Pest Management, Nutrient Management, Farmland Wildlife, Buffer Strips, Hedgerows, and Low Input Grassland.
Under the improved scheme, biomass crops now fall under the category of non-horticultural permanent crops, which includes ‘lands utilized for Miscanthus, Reed Canary Grass, nursery crops, and Short Rotation Coppice.’
This categorization presents energy crop growers with the opportunity to apply for payments within the non-horticultural permanent crops category, covering SRC and energy grasses.
The range of actions, includes:
- £673/ha payment for establishing flower-rich grass margins or in-field strips (IPM2).
- £45/ha payment for farmers not using insecticides on permanent and arable crops (IPM4).
- £5.80/ha payment for actions promoting soil health, with an additional £95 per agreement (SAM1).
Starting from the beginning of August, DEFRA will begin accepting applications, with payments issued every three months. We strongly encourage all land managers involved in biomass crop planting to explore the offerings of SFI 2023 and assess the actions they could deliver on their land to contribute towards improving the environment.