Opportunities for Upland Farmers: Payments, Schemes, and Environmental Benefits


Upland farmers play a crucial role in sustaining our farm businesses, food production, and improving the environment. The UK government has introduced several initiatives to support upland farmers and provide them with opportunities to enhance their operations while contributing to environmental conservation. In this blog post, we will explore the key offerings for upland farmers, including the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), Countryside Stewardship, Landscape Recovery, and other grant programs.

Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI):

The SFI is a program that rewards upland farmers for implementing environmentally sustainable land management practices. It offers payments for actions that farmers are already undertaking or can easily adopt. Eligibility for the SFI currently requires qualification for the Basic Payment Scheme, but this requirement may change in the future. The application process is straightforward, and payments are made quarterly, ensuring farmers receive their compensation promptly.

Countryside Stewardship:

Countryside Stewardship provides a range of offers to upland farmers, enabling them to manage habitats, woodlands, reduce water pollution, and mitigate flood risks. The program includes Mid Tier and Higher Tier agreements, with options to support wildlife, grants for restoration and creation of features like hedgerows and woodlands. Catchment Sensitive Farming officers are available to assist farmers in improving water and air quality. Eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters, and land managers can apply for Countryside Stewardship. Feel welcome to get in touch with us to find out which specific offer we feel would work best for you and how we can guide you through the application timeline and process as these vary depending on the offers applied for.

Landscape Recovery:

The Landscape Recovery initiative focuses on large-scale landscape and ecosystem restoration projects. Round two of the program is now open for applications and targets projects supporting net zero, protected sites, and habitat creation. Landowners, managers, and farmers with projects spanning at least 500 hectares are eligible to apply. The program provides secure, long-term funding and allows collaboration between different land managers and tenants to achieve significant environmental benefits.

Other Grant Programs:

Upland farmers can also benefit from one-off grants for various purposes. The Farming Investment Fund offers grants to improve productivity, the environment, and animal health and welfare. The Farming Innovation Programme supports research and innovation projects. Funding is available for planning, creating, and maintaining new woodlands through the Woodland Creation Campaign. Additionally, the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme provides funding for projects that enhance nature, mitigate climate change impacts, and improve landscape quality.

Future Developments:

The government plans to continue expanding the SFI and Countryside Stewardship schemes, introducing more actions, and transforming the administration to make it more accessible and effective. The goal is to streamline the application process, allowing farmers to apply for both schemes through a single application. Monitoring and compliance efforts aim to create a fairer and more proportionate regulatory system, focusing on outcomes rather than penalties.

Upland farmers have numerous opportunities to enhance their farm businesses, contribute to food production, and improve the environment. The SFI, Countryside Stewardship, Landscape Recovery, and other grant programs provide financial support for implementing sustainable land management practices, conserving habitats, and mitigating climate change impacts. We can help you take advantage of these offerings so you can play a vital role in achieving a more sustainable agricultural sector. For more information please feel free to call up to speak to one of our surveyors. 

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Wednesday, 17 July 2024