Government Launches Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot
The government has launched a pilot of its Sustainable Farming Incentive, with farmers now being encouraged to take part in the new system that, having now left the EU, is apparently more tailored to suit the interests of UK farmers.
Thanks to Brexit, the UK is now no longer bound by the Common Agricultural Policy, the biggest change to farming and land management in the country in 50 years. The aim is to deliver a renewed agricultural sector, producing healthy food for both domestic customers and for exportation, with farms able to be profitable and economically sustainable.
In all, there will be three schemes piloted and co-designed, with the remaining two – Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery – due to be launched later in 2021. All three will reward both farmers and land managers for producing public goods such as cleaner water, cleaner air, biodiversity, improving soil and carbon reduction on their land.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive has been designed to support farming approaches that are beneficial for the environment, such as integrated pest management and actions that improve soil health and hedgerows.
For example, farmers could potentially be paid to boost the levels of organic matter in the soil, or to manage and plant hedgerows so that birds and insects have shelter, year-round food and breeding cover.
In the first phase of the pilot, farmers will be able to select from eight standards to build their own agreements, promoting cleaner air and water, and guarding against environmental risks like flooding and climate change.
George Eustice, environment secretary, said: “The Sustainable Farming Incentive will support the environment and promote animal welfare. It will reward approaches to farm husbandry such as encouraging integrated pest management, improving soil health and enhancing hedgerows.
“Assets that were previously dubbed ‘ineligible features’ will finally have their value recognised and rewarded. I would encourage farmers to engage in this pilot to help us design the new scheme.”
One way that farmers can go about being more eco-friendly with their water supply is to reevaluate where their business water supply comes from and potentially think about switching to a different supplier, one that may suit their specific needs more effectively.
As of April 2017, businesses in England have been able to choose their own supplier, with wholesalers providing water to farm sites through their various networks, but with retailers instead providing the billing and account management services.
Part of the switching process involves a water audit, which will reveal where and how you use water across your farm. This means that the appropriate water-saving solutions can then be introduced, helping you to reduce your reliance on mains water supplies and protecting this precious resource for future generations. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with the SwitchWaterSupplier.com team today.