It received’t have shocked many individuals when Defra introduced delays to the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).
It was a transfer that has rightly angered farmers. The one means, as I see it, that these delays might be acceptable is to additionally delay the discount of the Fundamental Fee Scheme (BPS).
Name me naive, however I had been optimistic about the way forward for our agri-environmental schemes. At the very least till just lately.
See additionally: Chris Bennett – grain carting close to miss jogs my memory of security
The idea of the SFI is nice. The concept that farmers must be paid for supply of environmental items is much extra justifiable than the area-based funds of the previous. I don’t even disagree that BPS must be phased out ultimately.
The issue is that the design and the software program behind the SFI ought to have been in place earlier than the BPS started to be wound down. If that had been the case, the sleek transition we had been all promised may have occurred.
My optimism had seen our household farm enter the 2022 model of the scheme, which has been prematurely terminated.
Had it been totally deliberate out from the beginning, contracts wouldn’t have needed to be ended and belief may have been maintained. As it’s, there’s little or no belief left.
On the time of writing, the brand new scheme is because of be obtainable from 18 September, however who’s to say that this date received’t slide additional. It’s changing into more and more tough to plan forward.
For each month the rollout is delayed, now we have one other month of prices for all of the issues the SFI is designed to help.
There are miles of hedges and hectares of area margins that must be receiving monetary advantages via the SFI by now however as an alternative we, the farmers, are incurring the prices of managing them.
Farmers this 12 months are receiving about 50% of the direct funds they might have obtained a couple of years in the past and this cash is but to be funnelled into the SFI. This begs the query, the place has all the cash gone?
At least, the one truthful answer I see is to take care of the present direct cost ranges till the SFI is correctly able to be rolled out.