December Ponderings - 2021

Rural Funding Opportunities

Sustainable Farming Incentive

 

DEFRA have released details of the first phase of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme which will open in Spring 2022. This new Government funding scheme, the first of 3 to be launched in England under the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) umbrella, is the first step towards meeting the UK 25 Year Environment Plan.

 

How will the scheme work?

Eligibility – If you are eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme, you will be eligible for SFI. There is no minimum or maximum amount of land that can be entered into the scheme, and you can choose how many of your fields to enter in to comply with the SFI standards.

 

Agreements – SFI Agreements will last for 3 years, with some flexibility to amend them every 12 months. This will allow you to incorporate additional standards as they become available, add more land to your agreement and increase ambition levels within standards.

 

Management Control – If you farm under a tenancy, you will be responsible for checking that you have sufficient management control to fulfil your SFI Agreement under the terms of your tenancy. You will not be required to show that you have your Landlord’s permission.

 

Timings of Applications – The SFI Application window will open in 2022 and the window will be open for 10 weeks.

 

Payments – SFI payments will be paid in quarterly instalments, beginning 3 months after your Agreement start date.

 

Capital Payments – There will be no Capital Items available under the SFI Standards in 2022. These will be introduced into SFI later in the rollout.

 

The Standards available under SFI will be introduced in stages over the next few years. The three standards that will be available in the initial SFI rollout are:

 

  • The Arable and Horticultural Soils Standard
  • The Improved Grassland Standard
  • The Moorland and Rough Grazing Standard

 

From 2022 SFI will also fund an on farm annual Animal Health and Welfare Review to encourage and enable farmers to take action to improve animal health & welfare.

 

Further details regarding payment rates and standard requirements can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-farming-incentive-how-the-scheme-will-work-in-2022/sustainable-farming-incentive-how-the-scheme-will-work-in-2022  

 

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

The Farming Investment Fund was launched in November and is now accepting applications. The grant, which is similar to the previous Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme, is designed as a contribution to smaller investments in new technology and equipment. The minimum grant is £2,000 and maximum grant £25,000. The items eligible for funding are included in a set list with detailed specification and a total contribution figure assigned to each item, which is the amount you will be paid, regardless of the cost of the item. Applications are to be submitted by the 7th January 2022.

 

Applications will be checked and scored prior to the approval of grant funding. The grant applications are expected to be competitive, and all applications will be scored against the same criteria. Those who have submitted a successful application and received approval, will be able to claim the grant funding once the item has been paid for, taken delivery of, installed, and made operational (if applicable), and all claims must be made by 30th September 2022.

 

Items are split into categories, and some of the items that we believe may be of most potential interest to clients and market users are listed below, together with the relevant grant amount:

 

Resource Management Items

  • Rainwater Harvesting Systems – 5000 litres (£939) and 50,000 litres (£3,678)
  • Slurry Injection System - minimum 3 metres (£8,250) and 6 metres (£8,984)
  • Dribble Bar Systems – minimum 6 metres (£4,000) and 10 metres (£8,354)

 

Precision & Analysis Items

  • Direct Drills - minimum 3 metres (£12,054) and 6 metres (£25,000)
  • GPS Systems (£480) and Auto Steer Systems (£1,051)
  • Variable Rate Controllers (£1,850) and Yield Monitoring Systems (£1,600)

 

Livestock Handling & Weighing Items

  • Cattle Handling Systems – Mobile (£4,456) and Fixed (£3,866)
  • Sheep Handling Systems Mobile (£3,100) and Fixed (£1,600)
  • Weighing Systems (£440 - £4,758)
  • EID Systems (£220-£620)

 

Other Livestock Items

  • Mobile Sheep Dip (£5,616)
  • Automated Cattle Footbaths (£2,040)
  • Electric Fencing (£341)

 

General Items

  • Grassland Sward Lifters (£2,804)
  • Cover Crop Rollers – 3 metres (£1,952) and 6 metres (£3,313)
  • Digital Weather Stations (£814)

 

Full details of the Fund can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/farming-equipment-and-technology-fund-round-1-manual/annex-3-eligible-items-specification-and-grant-amount

 

The Bletsoes Agricultural team are working with clients currently in respect of grants for Farming Equipment and advising in respect of Mid-Tier Stewardship agreements to commence 1st January 2022 as well as starting to prepare for applications to be made next Spring/Summer.  If you would like to talk through a possible application, please do not hesitate to contact the team.

 

Rob Russell

Agri Business Consultant

rob.russell@bletsoes.co.uk

07960 598498

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