Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot - window for expressions of interest now open

Following on from the announcement of the launch of Defra’s new Sustainable Farming Incentive, which forms part of the Environmental Land Management scheme, more information has been released about the pilot.

What is new?

On 15 March 2021, Defra opened the window for expressions of interest to join the pilot of the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme. The closing date for submitting interest is 11 April 2021.

Defra wants to hear from those farmers who would like to take part in the pilot, before the Sustainable Farming Incentive is opened up to more farmers in 2022. The pilot will test a working version of the scheme that will continue to be developed until it is fully open in 2024.

Where can I find more information?

Defra has published more information online and also produced a number of blogs.

Where can I find information about submitting an expression of interest?

Defra has published information on expressions of interest here. This gives information on the need to log into the RPA’s Rural Payments service and from there navigate to the ‘Business Overview’ page, then select the ‘Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot Expression of Interest’ form in the Environmental Land Management section.

What happens after I submit an expression of interest, and when?

Defra states that you will find out if you are selected for the pilot or not from 24 May 2021 via email (or post if there is no email address). Selections will be random, from categories covering various types of farm. If you are selected, you will be able to make an application in June 2021.

Defra also states that over the summer the agreements will be developed, with the first agreements starting in October 2021. The pilot is expected to last until 2024. As part of the co-design approach in the pilot, you will be regularly asked for feedback on how the scheme works and how it could be improved.

Who can take part in the pilot?

More information can be found here.

How will I be paid?

Defra states that you will be paid monthly, as per the pilot agreement, for completing the actions from your agreement and also for time spent on learning activities (a pilot participation payment). Defra currently states that the first payments are planned for November 2021.

When can I find out more?

Contact the RPA with questions, or if you need help submitting an expression of interest, via email at cnVyYWxwYXltZW50c0BkZWZyYS5nb3YudWs=

Write ‘Sustainable Farming Incentive’ in the subject line. Alternatively, call on 03000 200 301 between Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm, except bank holidays.

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