More actions and expanded 25% cap – the latest on SFI

Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Defra has released further information on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) today (21 May 2024), revealing an 'expanded and improved offer'.

Key points from the release

  • 102 actions, including 20 new actions to support more sustainable food production Further information is available in the guidance notes for the expanded offer.
  • More than 50 simplified actions from Countryside Stewardship (CS) Mid-Tier will be merged into the SFI to make the application process easier for farmers
  • A number of CS Mid-Tier actions will be reduced from five years to three years to become in-line with SFI action timelines and also make the offer more accessible for tenant farmers
  • The actions to which the 25% area cap applies have been updated to include four CS actions:
Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) Take improved grassland field corners or blocks out of management (IGL1)
Winter bird food on improved grassland (IGL2)
Pollen and nectar flower mix (AHL1)
Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land (AHL2)
Grassy field corners and blocks (AHL3)
Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips (IPM2) 
Countryside Stewardship (CS) In-field grass strips (WBD3)
Unharvested cereal headland (AHW9)
Bumblebird mix (AHW1)
Cultivated areas for arable plants (AHW11)

New SFI applicants will only be able to put a maximum of 25% of the total agricultural area of their farm in a combination of one or more of these 10 actions.

We will incorporate this information and upcoming details into our SFI stacking analysis later this year to help levy payers make informed choices regarding their farm business.