THE Agriculture Bill when passed made promise of various new schemes to be released to aid farmers in the transition years from Basic Payment to ELMS, DEFRA have been disappointingly slow at releasing details of this schemes, but in the last week we have had further updates on what is coming available, says Craig Brough Head of Land agency at hopes Auction Company, Wigton.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is to be rolled out in Spring 2022 as the first element of the much-anticipated Environmental Land Management (ELM) Scheme. Application dates are set to be announced in the new year where it will be open to all farmers who currently claim BPS.

SFI agreements will last for 3 years, though amendments will be allowed at 12-monthly periods enabling farmers to add land, add standards or increase ambition levels. There will be no minimum or maximum area required to be entered into the standard. Payments will be made in quarterly instalments.

The scheme is targeted at farmers and aims to pay farmers to produce public goods including water quality and biodiversity whilst producing environmental and climate change benefits and improving natural health and fertility of soils.

Payment rates for differing levels of management have been set with Improved grassland soils attracting £28 / ha for the introductory level and £58 / Ha for the intermediate level, whilst Arable soils attract £22 / ha for the introductory level and £40 / Ha for the intermediate level. Again delays in the full release of the scheme mean that the full details for moorland and rough grazing are not yet available but proposed rates have been released as £148 per agreement per year and £6.45 / ha, it is understood that commons will be included in the scheme provided they are claimed through a single association.

The second announcement to come this week is further details on the Farming Transformation Fund Improving Farm Productivity Grant, these grants are for capital items to improve farm and horticulture productivity through, The use of robotic or autonomous equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production and the installation of slurry acidification equipment (improved nutrient management, reduced ammonia emissions). The minimum grant you can claim is £35,000 The maximum grant available under the Improving Farm Productivity theme is £500,000 per applicant and the grant will be paid on 40% of Eligible costs.

The application process will take place in two phase, the initial phase is an online checker application which will come live in Mid-January and run for a period of eight weeks, if successful in this you will then be invited to submit full application.

Hopes Auction Company, Wigton are assisting people in submitting these applications and providing advice as to what is available, following the launch of the Farming Equipment and Technology fund in November they held a very successful evening for farmers and supplies to meet and discuss there requirements with over 300 farmers in attendance. For further information contact Craig Brough and Joanne Ridley on 01697344901