Devon County Show: Joining SFI “a business decision”

12 July 2022

Livestock judging at Devon County Show

Livestock judging at Devon County Show 2022

On the opening day of Devon County Show, Environment Secretary George Eustice told farmers at an NFU reception that it would be a “business decision” when it came to deciding whether or not they should sign up for schemes under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).

The first phase of the scheme had opened for applications that day and Mr Eustice said that he hoped many farmers would “take a look” at it. “You need to talk to the professionals, get advice for your business, if it’s not for you then don’t join it,” he said.

SFI “almost certainly” of interest

But Mr Eustice added that he was confident that there “almost certainly” would be something that would interest all farmers amongst the range of schemes on offer.

NFU Vice President David Exwood told the reception whilst there was much more to do to make SFI a success, the NFU was committed to working with Defra to achieve this.

“Let’s be optimistic about the future. The demise of British farming has been predicted many times but it hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

Farmers must be fairly rewarded

“The NFU has been consistent in its view that there is much more to do to ensure this scheme is open to every farm business, for example tenant farmers, with viable options for all that couple sustainable food production with viable environmental measures.

“Our aim has always been for these new schemes to fairly reward farmers for those public goods and to continue and enhance this work.”

“You need to talk to the professionals, get advice for your business, if it’s not for you then don’t join it.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice MP

Designed to be accessible

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is available to all farmers in England who currently receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.

The Government says it is designed to be accessible and will “reward sustainable practices which support food production and benefit the environment”.

Scholarship launched

At the reception, show president Tom Hammett launched a new travel scholarship sponsored by the Devon Farmer's Benevolent Fund and run in conjunction with Devon Young Farmers.


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