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Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot guidance

The guidance on this page is for SFI pilot participants only. Please visit GOV.UK for the official Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme guidance.

If you don't have an SFI pilot agreement

This SFI pilot guidance only applies to farmers who have an SFI pilot agreement. The SFI pilot is closed for applications.

Read the SFI 2023 handbook to find out more about the main scheme.

Pilot mandatory guidance

You must read these pages before you accept your agreement. When these pages say you ‘must’ do something, that forms part of your agreement. Read ‘Piloting the Sustainable Farming Incentive: monitoring’ for details of what might happen if you breach your agreement.

Pilot terms and conditions

The terms and conditions form part of your agreement and you must read them before you accept it.

Pilot guidance: how to change your application or agreement offer, or amend your agreement

This guidance helps you make changes to your submitted application or agreement offer. It also covers requesting an amendment to your agreement during the relevant amendment window. This is not mandatory guidance and does not form part of your agreement.


If you’ve chosen to undertake one of these standards, then the actions in that standard, at the ambition level you’ve chosen, are mandatory. You must do them as part of your agreement.

All the standards have links to advice on how to complete the actions in that standard. You do not have to follow this advice.

We have amended the original pilot offer to include the updated soils standards for early rollout of the Sustainable Farming Incentive from 2022. The 2 soils standards are:

  • the arable and horticultural soils standard
  • the improved grassland soils standard

This means these 2 standards will be the same in both the pilot and early rollout of the scheme. We may make further adjustments to these soils standards and indicative payment rates before pilot agreements start from October 2021. If you include a soils standard in your pilot application, your agreement will include the finalised rates.

Aims of the standards

Each standard has a set of aims that participants should achieve if they have followed all the actions. These aims are the primary focus for site visits.

Standards: supporting guidance

These pages are not mandatory guidance and do not form part of your agreement.

Funding for capital items

As a Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot participant, you can apply for funding for capital items to support delivery of the standards in your agreement. The capital items which may help you meet the actions for each standard are listed in each individual standard’s guidance.

You can access support via the Countryside Stewardship (CS) capital grants.

If you already have a CS Capital Grants (SFI pilot) agreement supporting your SFI Pilot Standards agreement, you have until the end date of your capital agreement, or until the end of your SFI Pilot Standards agreement, whichever is soonest, to complete the works. You will have 3 months after this date to submit your claim.