Introducing The New SFI Management Payments & Revised Countryside Stewardship Rates

Introducing The New SFI Management Payments & Revised Countryside Stewardship Rates

Phillip Norden

Phillip Norden

Jan, 10 2023

Announced on 5th January at the Oxford Farming Conference by Defra farming minister Mark Spencer, payments for the Countryside Stewardship and SFI have been revised to encourage uptake of environmental schemes and to reflect agricultural markets and scheme costs.

Countryside Stewardship Payment Rates

Payment rates for both Countryside Stewardship revenue options and capital items will change. The new revenue rates will be introduced for all new and existing Mid-Tier and Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreements from 1 January 2023.

On average, there will be a 10% increase in revenue rates, differing between options with some example rate changes below. No revenue payment rates have decreased.

Option Code Option Previous Rate Rate from 1 January 2023
AB1 Nectar flower mix £579.00 £614.00
AB6 Enhanced overwintered stubble £493.00 £522.00
AB8 Flower rich margins and plots £628.00 £673.00
AB9 Winter bird food £640.00 £732.00
AB15 Two year sown legume fallow £569.00 £593.00
SW1 4-6m buffer strip on cultivated land £419.00 £451.00
GS2 Permanent grassland with very low inputs (outside of SDAs) £132.00 £151.00

Defra will publish how they will routinely review payment rates from 2024 onwards at a later date.

Countryside Stewardship Capital Grants

The majority of Countryside Stewardship capital payments have increased, with rates up by an average of 48%. Capital payment rate changes will apply to new Countryside Stewardship agreements only and not to existing agreements.

New agreement holders will now have 3 years to complete the capital works in their agreement.

Defra has increased the maximum amount allowable for a single application to £80,000, with a limit of £20,000 for each of these groups:

  • Boundaries, Trees and Orchards
  • Water Quality
  • Air Quality
  • Natural Flood Management

Capital items which require support from Catchment Sensitive Farming are now available in High, Medium and Low Priority Areas for Water and Air Quality.

Example capital option revised payment rates include:

Option Code Option Previous Rate Rate from 1 January 2023
BN6 Hedgerow coppicing / m £4.00 £5.33
BN7 Hedgerow gapping up / m £9.50 £17.22
BN11 Hedgerow planting – new hedges / m £11.60 £22.97
FG1 Fencing / m £4.00 £6.34
RP15 Concrete yard renewal / sq m £27.14 £33.64
RP17 Storage tanks underground / cubic m £350.00 £441.98
RP28 Roofing (sprayer washdown area, manure storage area, livestock gathering area, slurry stores, silage stores)/sq m £62.00 £72.50

Sustainable Farming Incentive Management Payment

Defra is introducing a new SFI Management Payment of £20 per hectare, for up to 50 hectares of land entered into the scheme. This means farmers will receive up to £1,000 per year in addition to their agreement to cover the administrative costs of participation.

A 40-hectare farm would receive an additional £800 per year to their agreement. A 400-hectare farm would receive the maximum limit of £1,000 per year to their agreement total.

This payment will apply to those who are already in SFI and from this point on.

More SFI standards will be opened this year so that more farmers can benefit.

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