Sustainable Farming Incentive – 2022 rollout

  • Available Spring 2022.
  • Open to all farmers eligible for BPS.
  • Two soil standards to choose from: Arable and Horticultural Soils Standard and Improved Grassland Soils Standard (payments of between £26 and £70 per hectare (estimated)
  • Moorland and Rough Grazing Standard (Payment rate to be confirmed).
  • Annual Health and Welfare Review. Funds a yearly vet visit (£269-£775).
  • More standards to be added as scheme progresses.

Applying for the early rollout should appeal to a large number of farmers who want an income stream in addition to BPS. This will start mitigating the reducing BPS payments. The selection of standards, whilst limited, will be relevant to most land. Most of the activities will be familiar where other types of payments are being made under existing schemes.  

These standards will be open to those eligible for payments under BPS and applications open in spring 2022 via a digital service on GOV.UK.  


Arable and Horticultural Soils Standard and Improved Grassland Soils Standard

This standard aims to reward farmers for management practices that improve soil health by improving soil structure, soil organic matter, and soil biologyThere will be three levels of ambition to choose from which decide on the actions required and the payment received.  

Moorland and Rough Grazing Standard

This standard involves assessing the variety of habitats and features on moorland groundPayment will be made to identify pressures on these resources plus the risk of wildfires with maybe no actual actions required. Unlike other standards there will only be one level of ambition. 

Annual Health and Welfare Review

This is not a ‘standard’ as such but is the first glimpse of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway part of ELMs. This is essentially a fund for yearly visits from a vet, providing diagnostic testing and advice on improving livestock health and welfare. This will be available for all commercial cattle, pig and sheep. Depending on the type of livestock, payments will range from £269-£775 per annum. 

Payment rates for soil standards

These will be confirmed in November 2021, the rate for the moorland and rough grazing standard is still under development. 

Improved grassland soils (per hectare): 

  • introductory: £26 
  • intermediate: £44 
  • advanced: £70 

Arable and horticultural soils (per hectare): 

  • introductory: £26 
  • intermediate: £41 
  • advanced: £60 

Payments for Annual Health and Welfare Review 

This will fund a yearly visit from a vet. It is expected to range from approximately £269 to £775, varying by species.  

  • Available initially for all commercial cattle, pig and sheep keepers who are eligible for BPS. 
  • This is a time limited offer for three years. 

DEFRA have provided a list of standards currently under consideration which may become available as the scheme progresses.  

  • agroforestry standard 
  • hedgerows standard 
  • arable and horticulture land standard 
  • waterbody buffering standard. 
  • improved grassland standard 
  • low and no input grassland standard 
  • farm woodland standard 
  • dry stone walls standard 
  • heritage standard 
  • farmyard infrastructure standard 
  • orchards and permanent crops standard 
  • peat soils standard 

Land in Countryside Stewardship 

The scheme will be open to those who already have an agreement under an existing agri-environment scheme (such as Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship) as long as the standard they choose is compatible with the existing agreement and does not result in double payment for similar activities. Countryside Stewardship will still be open for applications in 2022 and 2023, with the last agreements starting in 2024. Final versions of this initial set of standards will be released by November 2021. 

Alasdair Squires

Alasdair Squires

01392 823935