Six more sustainable farming standards have been released today (Thursday) by Defra as part of the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) that replaces Basic Payment Scheme.
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The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is intended to give farmers a range of paid actions to produce food sustainably while protecting nature and enhancing the environment.
These actions include managing hedgerows for wildlife, planting nectar-rich wildflowers and managing crop pests without the use of insecticides.
The incentives are aimed at making food production more resilient whilst contributing towards the UK’s environmental goals on carbon, biodiversity, water quality and net zero.
The six new standards released today are:
Hedgerows standard - farmers will be paid to assess the condition of hedgerows and manage them in a way that will work for wildlife and improve biodiversity
Improved grassland standard - farmers will be paid for actions such as taking grassland out of management, managing grassland for winter bird food and establishing and maintaining buffer strips at the edge of fields – helping wildlife and biodiversity
Low input grassland standard - farmers will be paid to manage low input grassland to improve biodiversity, soil management and water quality
Arable and horticultural land standard - farmers will be paid for actions including establishing and maintaining areas of nectar-rich flower mix, establishing and maintaining flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips, providing winter bird food, establishing and maintaining grassy field corners and blocks and establishing and maintaining buffer strips
Integrated pest management standard - farmers will be paid to carry out an assessment and produce an integrated pest management plan, establishing and maintaining flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips, including payments for not using insecticides and for planting companion crops
Nutrient management standard – farmers will be paid to make an assessment and produce a report of their management of nutrients, helping to encourage them to understand how they are managing nutrients and to take further action to deliver environmental benefits and there are payments for those who incorporate legumes into the crop and grassland management. ■