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Apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is now open for applications via the Rural Payments service.

Through the SFI, farmers will be paid for looking after the natural environment in the course of their farming.

This initial offer will pay farmers for taking care of their soil or assessing the condition of moorland.

In future, we’ll add more actions that farmers can get paid to take. 

Get ready to apply 

Applications are now open; there is no deadline so farmers can apply whenever it makes sense for them.

We’ve designed the application process to be as straightforward and quick as possible for farmers.

The SFI application service includes some new functionality that will allow us to carry out checks automatically. This will enable us to process applications much faster.

We’ll roll out this new functionality in a controlled way during July so that we can make sure we’re able to give everyone the right level of service and support.

During this initial period, when you log in, you’ll either be able to apply online straightaway or we’ll ask you to get in touch with the Rural Payments Agency who will support you to apply. 

Whenever you choose to apply, make sure your details are up to date before you do. 

Check contact details and permissions 

Sign into the Rural Payments service to check your business and personal details. 

Check your eligibility

The SFI guidance explains the eligibility criteria.

Check your land details 

When you apply online for SFI in the Rural Payments service, you will see the land parcels currently linked to your Single Business Identifier (SBI). You will also see the available area for SFI in those land parcels, based on registered, eligible land covers. 

If these details aren’t up to date, it will affect which land parcels you can select to include in your application. Do check your digital maps too. For more information, read the guidance about checking your land before you apply.

How to apply

You will apply online in the Rural Payments service using your existing sign in details.

We’ve published guidance on GOV.UK to help you apply as well as the video below.

A note of thanks 

Since May, a number of BPS eligible farmers interested in the SFI have helped us by testing the application process. 

We want to thank them for their time, insight and feedback.

We’d also like to thank our SFI pilot farmers who are testing out an expanded version of the scheme on their farms, including a wider range of standards. We have taken their feedback and applied it to the new service so that it will work better for farmers. 

If you’d like to share your application experience with us, let us know in the comments.

Finally, we'll blog about how we’ve improved the scheme soon, so do subscribe to the blog.

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  1. Comment by Robin Horton posted on

    Hi as previously emailed to the pilot team, I sent in a detailed breakdown of the sfi pilot portal and bugs, enhancements etc. As my background is in IT and particularly software and software testing I am probably one of the very very few pilot participants qualified to test and comment on the portal. I received and acknowledgement email to my comments but no further engagement. I raised this directly with the sfi pilot team but again no contact from the rpa re engaging re the testing of the platform. As always I remain available to assist the rpa in testing and developing the platform for the benefit and ease of use of the farmers who will be using it.

    • Replies to Robin Horton>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you for the help you've given us to shape the Sustainable Farming Incentive by participating in the pilot.

      Your feedback has been incorporated into the IT platform in the new service.

      We are soon to begin local face-to-face events for pilot participants, starting in Exeter. Part of the plan for the day is to talk about how the pilot feedback is influencing the development of the main scheme, and specifically referencing the application process.

      We understand you're registered to take part, so we're looking forward to seeing you there and continuing the conversation.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

  2. Comment by Thomas Hoare posted on

    Will we farmers be recieving paper
    notice and
    applications , I'm not comfortable to carry out Claims on line , I've only got a phone and can barely see forms

    • Replies to Thomas Hoare>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Thomas,

      If you can't apply online, call us on 03000 200 301 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm, except bank holidays) and we'll be able to help.

      Best wishes,

  3. Comment by Thomas Hoare posted on

    Thank you Sara , I'm also confused as to I have grazing land that always carried my cattle , and made hay excetera ,and claimed BPS , or subsidies , I'm 72 years old , can I still claim , without my BPS payments or equivalent I'm lost ,can't make the job pay

    • Replies to Thomas Hoare>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Thomas,

      No problem. Is it ok if I email you directly using your Hotmail address? We're paying advisers across the country to help farmers work out a plan for their businesses (you don't need to pay a penny for this). They'll tell you what you can apply for and will help you to apply. Those advisers are listed online so it might be easier if I pop their details in an email to you - I'll just ask a few questions about your holding and where you are in the country. You'll be able to pick from a list and make contact directly with them.

      Best wishes,

  4. Comment by Thomas Hoare posted on

    Please E mail me


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