Agricultural Transition to ELM schemes: what’s the plan?16/08/21
The latest Government update on the Agricultural Transition Plan relates to the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This is essentially the basic level of the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes which will begin to replace the current generation of agri-environment schemes.
The pilot scheme of the Agricultural Transition Plan is due to start in October 2021.
Some core elements of the full scheme will be available from spring 2022 to anyone who claims Basic Payments.
The four standards that will be available are:
- arable and horticultural soils standard
- improved grassland soils standard
- moorland and rough grazing standard
- annual Health and Welfare Review
Farmers will be able to take up a SFI agreement on land parcels covered by an existing agri-environment agreement. The plan is to expand the scheme until all 15 elements are available from 2024/ 25 onwards. Defra is aiming for at least 70% of farms to participate in agri-environment schemes by 2028 (compared with around 32% now).
Land management plans needed for ELM schemes
Each farm will need a land management plan, which would be the basis for farmers to decide how, where and when to produce public goods on their land. The plans will then be used as a basis for assessing overall progress towards wider environmental, climate, and animal health and welfare targets.
Payment rates under ELM schemes
Indicative payment rates for the first year are below:
Arable and horticultural soils:
Introductory = £26
Intermediate = £41
Advanced = £60
Improved grassland soils:
Introductory = £26
Intermediate = £44
Advanced = £70
Annual Health and Welfare review:
Full cost of vet paid plus a payment for the farmer’s time of £269 - £775.
Payment principles under the ELM schemes
- Payment rates will be set to encourage wide participation, whilst fairly paying for environmental and climate outcomes.
- Payments should, as far as possible, recognise and pay for outcomes.
- Payments will recognise the value of existing natural assets and won’t disadvantage those who have protected them.
- Payments will allow land managers to earn income from public and private sector sources.
Additional funding is available for The Regional Woodland Restoration Innovation Funds, which are open for applications in the East of England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East areas. This is a relatively small grant, with up to £70,000 available in each area for projects that improve biodiversity, conserve threatened species and address problems caused by invasive species, pests and diseases. They are aimed at forestry businesses and conservation organisations which are in a position to help owners better manage their existing woodlands.
Talk to our experts at Forge to find out how we can help you maximise profits from your land.