Defra is restricting the land farmers can take from food production under a green incentive scheme

The government has taken steps to clarify certain rules underlying the use of its Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme, as it today adopted new measures.for use in limit the amount of land that farmers can withdraw from food production to instead use for environmental measures under the green payment scheme.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that while there is only limited evidence to date of farmers using large amounts of their land for actions that take away from food production, “some of these actions have been used more than intended. in a small number of cases”.

As such, it said the changes to the SFI announced today would ensure the scheme supports domestic food security while helping farmers improve the environment.

The changes will mean new SFI applicants will only be able to devote 25 percent of their land to six SFI actions that take land out of direct food production. These six recorded include the development of flower grass margins; pollen and nectar flower mix; winter bird food on arable and horticultural land; lawn corners and blocks; improved grassland field corners or blocks that are no longer managed; and winter bird feeding on improved grassland.

The government emphasized that the SFI scheme was intended to provide “maximum flexibility” and ease the application process for farmers, adding that the six actions outlined were intended to applied to smaller parts of the farm.

Food production is the primary purpose of agriculture and today we are taking action to clarify this principle,” said Agriculture Minister Mark Spencer. “The six actions we are limiting were always intended to be carried out on smaller plots of land, and these changes will help maintain this intent and continue our commitment to sustaining domestic food production.”

To date, the SFI has received more than applications submitted and more than 14,000 contract offers made, Defra said.

It stressed that the “vast majority of country in the scheme continues to produce food”, but that the scheme pays farmers to do so “in a more sustainable, resilient way that is good for both food production and the environment”.

This move builds on other government measures aimed at protecting food security, including the target for Britain to produce at least 60 percent of its own food, as well as the introduction of a new annual UK Food Security Index to determine the food security index. lay. and present the data needed to monitor the level of food security.

Tom Lancaster, country analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), today welcomed the SFI's announcement, which he said would help support domestic food security and nature and climate targets.

“Putting an upper limit on some green agricultural measures makes sense,” he said. “It ensures that farmers can still generate good income from these programs, while ensuring that the budget goes further and allows more farmers to participate. Green agriculture programs are critical to our food security. They support farmers to improve their soil, restore pollinators and tackle climate change, the biggest threat to food production in Britain.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Farmers Guardian. Additional reporting by BusinessGreen.

#Defra #restricting #land #farmers #food #production #green #incentive #scheme

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles