January 2023 Capital Payment Rate and SFI Changes
Today (5th January 2023) DEFRA have announced that there will be changes to Countryside Stewardship payment rates (revenue and capital) and also to SFI Management payments.
The payment rates for Countryside Stewardship revenue and capital options will be amended. Revenue rates will change from 1st January 2023 and on average will be increased by 10%. Later this year DEFRA also plan to publish how they will routinely review payment rates from 2024 onwards.
Capital payments under CS will also change, with an average increase of around 48%. The rate changes will only apply to new CS agreements and not to existing agreements.
Later this year, DEFRA will open the next round of Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Wildlife Offers for farmers and land managers wanting to start their agreements in January 2024.
Capital and annual maintenance payments for the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and the Tree Health Pilot will also increase in 2023.
DEFRA are also introducing a new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Management Payment of £20 per hectare, for up to 50 hectares of land entered in the scheme. This means farmers will receive up to £1,000 per year in addition to their agreement to cover the administrative costs of participation.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive Management Payment will be available for all SFI agreements that include substantive actions, such as changing land management activities. Planning or preparation activities such as the moorland standard are not eligible. DEFRA will provide further information about when and how the Sustainable Farming Incentive Management Payment will be applied in due course.
DEFRA do not propose to apply the increase to those in the pilot programme as they already receive a payment of £5,000 a year for participating in learning activities. This payment will be reviewed before the third year of the pilot programme starts later this year.
In 2023 DEFRA will increase the number of SFI standards and are set to publish further details of this expanded offer for 2023 in the coming weeks.