New Update: Environment Secretary announces applications for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFL), the first element of the government’s new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM), will open on 30th June 2022.
The ELM scheme was introduced as a government incentive to encourage farmers to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. This is a worthwhile project that will not only support the rural economy but also help achieve the goal of becoming net zero by 2050. However, there have been a number of concerns regarding payment rates.
Farmers will be paid between £20/ha and £58/ha (depending on the type of land) to carry out a set of land management actions. The first payment will be given three months after joining and will receive equal quarterly payments thereafter. The government is aiming for at least 70% of eligible farmers to apply for the SFI, but so far many say the SFI rates are disappointing and predict it isn’t likely enough farmers will want to apply.
The launch of the SFI Pilot starts June 30th with a focus on testing and protecting soils. Farmers share concerns about the affordability of taking part given that delivering the required measures will involve cost. With rising inflation directly impacting agricultural supply chains, it has already become increasingly difficult to keep up with productivity demands let alone to invest in necessary measures to apply for and carry out the actions of the SFI.
Previously, farmers have used schemes like Single Payment Scheme (SPS) – the subsidy that was implemented as part of EU policy prior to Brexit – and the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to invest in their businesses and increase productivity. As the BPS continues to decrease in funding, many farmers are struggling to find a way to move forward. However, there are ways to afford to be part of this worthwhile scheme and still be able to invest in the improvement of your business.
It has become much harder to make a living purely from agriculture. Diversifying your income stream is a popular investment that farmers are making to increase revenue and support seasonal cashflow. This additional income could help you afford to keep up productivity and feel comfortable in investing in schemes such as the SFI. Some methods of diversification are:
- Glamping Sites
- Holiday Lets
- Activity Centres
- IT Server Warehousing
- Farm Shops
- Wedding Venue
Investing in the latest technology and machinery can help you meet demands as well as being equipped to manage your land sustainably. Asset finance can be a solution to allow you to get the equipment or machinery you need now so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
It’s never been more important for farmers to know their business and plan for the future. Having the right finance partner could prove indispensable in the coming months. Portman can help you protect, invest and evolve your business through our range of simple and affordable financial solutions.
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