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SFI – Sustainable Farming Incentive

The SFI scheme enables you to receive payment for good farming practice without removing land from production

What is the Sustainable Farming Incentive?

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is part of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) aimed to reward farmers for public good.

With BPS payments reducing in 2024, the SFI standards provide an opportunity to begin replacing this payment and managing risk on your farm. The scheme enables you to receive payment for good farming practice without removing land from production.

The 2022 SFI standard has been replaced with a ‘pick and mix’ approach consisting of ‘actions’ covering familiar themes such as soil health, as well as new actions to manage and improve hedgerows, develop integrated pest management, improve nutrient management, bolster farm wildlife, encourage the use and retention of buffer strips and manage low input grassland.

Agreements will run for 3 years with payments made on a quarterly basis. Agreement holders will be able to upgrade their agreement each year.

What can we offer?

Our expert team provide an industry leading service with all the functionality required to manage your SFI agreement, from physical soil assessments, option appraisals, IPM & Nutrient Management Plans via our FACTS And BASIS qualified advisors through to  record keeping and agreement management. We work to deliver you the biggest return on your investment.

Our Omnia platform enables you to record and validate information required for the SFI standards.



  • Field Diary app and online platform including Soil Assessment tool, field observations and geolocated photographs
  • Soil Management Plan including relevant observations and linked actions
  • Management platform for hosting data, such as soil analysis and field details, including risk maps for erosion and organic matter amendments (straw incorporated/removed and manure management)

This is available across all paid for levels of Omnia. You can complete plans yourself or a specialist can manage the platform on your behalf, removing the worry of compliance


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If a grower is in the pilot and wishes to add new options, can they add them to their pilot agreement?

A: You can add pilot standards into your agreement only. A new agreement for SFI2023 actions would need to be applied for any of the ‘new’ 2023 actions.


Q: How long will my agreement last?

A: Three years from start date.


Q: What will happen to my SFI2022 Agreement?

A: This will be terminated with the RPA providing a cancellation payment, depending on the length of the agreement remaining and options included in agreement.


Q: Is there just one SFI agreement available per SBI number?

A: If needed, multiple SFI agreements can be applied for under the same SBI number but note that additional actions can be added to an existing SFI agreement. Areas of actions can also be increased or decreased by up to 50% which may alleviate the need for an additional agreement. Some options are across the area of land entered into an SFI agreement too (e.g. NMP/IPM) and cannot be claimed multiple times on different agreements which cover the same land area.


Q: Is there a maximum area of AHL2, as there is with AB9 in CSS?

A: No there isn’t.


Q: When do cover crops need establishing?

A: Need to be in ground for the winter months i.e. Dec, Jan, Feb (RPA definition).


Q: What needs to be included in a cover crop mix?

A: You will need to include at least two species from one of more of: Brassicae, Legumes, Grass, Cereals or Herbs.


Q: SAM3: Herbal leys – Can these be mown?

A: Yes, these can be mown or grazed and there is no date restrictions on when or how often you can do it.


Q: If new options become available under the SFI will growers be able to add them in if they are already signed up to a 3-year agreement or do they have to wait until end of the 3 year agreement?

A: They will be able to add in new options annually as part of the annual declaration process, they can also rotate and reallocate options at this point.


Q: How long does my legume fallow need to be in the ground (now a one year mix)?

A: Legume fallow is a rotational action, however its aim is to produce areas of flowering plants from the late spring and during the summer months. The legume fallow needs to be in the ground over the spring and summer months to achieve this action’s aims.

To establish and maintain legume fallow; you must sow a seed mix that contains at least 6 flowering species including legumes such as:

  • Bird’s foot trefoil
  • Black medick
  • Alsike clover
  • Common vetch
  • Lucerne

It can also include:

  • Non-legume flower species
  • Grasses, such as cocksfoot or timothy which can help control blackgrass.


Q: What species do I need to include in a legume and herb rich sward?

A: You must establish and maintain herbal leys with a mixture of grasses, legumes, and herbs on the land entered into this action. There is no fixed mix which fits the specification of this action.

You can maintain an existing herbal ley to meet this action. However, you can only do this if it’s not already being paid for under another environmental land management scheme option.

Summary of SFI actions in the SFI 2024 Offer

Code SFI action Annual Payment
Actions for soils
SAM1 Assess soil, test soil organic matter and produce a soil management plan £6 per hectare and an additional payment of £95 per agreement
SAM2 Multi-species winter cover crops £129 per hectare
SAM3 Herbal leys £382 per hectare
Actions for moorland
MOR1 Assess moorland and produce a written record £10.60 per hectare and an additional payment of £272 per agreement
Actions for hedgerows
HRW1 Assess and record hedgerow condition £5 per 100 metres – one side
HRW2 Manage hedgerows £13 per 100 metres – one side
HRW3 Maintain or establish hedgerow trees £10 per 100 metres – both sides
Actions for integrated pest management
IPM1 Assess integrated pest management and produce a plan (this action applies to an SFI agreement, rather than a specific area of land (an ‘agreement level SFI action’) £1,129 per year
IPM2 Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips £798 per hectare
IPM3 Companion crop on arable and horticultural land £55 per hectare
IPM4 No use of insecticide on arable crops and permanent crops £45 per hectare
Actions for nutrient management
NUM1 Assess nutrient management and produce a review report (agreement level SFI action) £652 per year
NUM2 Legumes on improved grassland £102 per hectare
NUM3 Legume fallow £593 per hectare
Actions for farmland wildlife on arable and horticultural land
AHL1 Pollen and nectar flower mix £739 per hectare
AHL2 Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land £853 per hectare
AHL3 Grassy field corners and blocks £590 per hectare
Actions for farmland wildlife on improved grassland
IGL1 Take improved grassland field corners or blocks out of management £333 per hectare
IGL2 Winter bird food on improved grassland £515 per hectare
Actions for buffer strips
AHL4 4m to 12m grass buffer strip on arable and horticultural land £515 per hectare
IGL3 4m to 12m grass buffer strip on improved grassland £235 per hectare
Actions for low input grassland
LIG1 Manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs (outside SDAs) £151 per hectare
LIG2 Manage grassland with very low nutrient inputs (SDAs) £151 per hectare
Additional payments
Additional common land payment (*if a group of 2 or more people apply for an SFI agreement on common land) £6.15 per hectare*
SFI management payment (*up to the first 50 hectares entered into the relevant SFI actions, per SBI) £40 per hectare* for the first agreement year

£20 per hectare* for the second and third agreement year


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