Since our ‘Life After BPS’ HelpfulFOLK webinar in July, presented by Jeremy Moody Secretary to the Central Association for Agricultural Valuers, more information has come out of Defra.
We now have more knowledge of the draft standards and payment rates for the first strand of the Sustainable Farming Initiative which is due to be launched in 2022, although current thoughts are that it may not start until late in 2022. The focus is on arable soils, it is voluntary, but might be one way of compensating for the loss of BPS Income.
There are three levels with payments starting at £26 per hectare for the ‘Introductory’ level, progressing up to £60 per hectare for the ‘Advanced’ level. Jeremy stressed in his presentation that this is not a replacement for BPS. You are being rewarded for your actions; in the case of the Introductory level, you must complete a basic soil assessment, establish a green cover crop over winter on at least 5% of the area and increase soil organic matter on at least 10% of the area. As you go up the levels the requirement increases.
The Farming Investment Fund is now due to be launched in October 2021. There are two elements
- Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF)
- Farming Transformation Fund (FTF)
Both have been modeled on elements of the Countryside Productivity Scheme.
The FETF provides small grants to improve business performance. Farmers can apply to buy items from a set list of equipment, technology, and small infrastructure investments.
The FTF is aimed at larger and more complicated investments and could support on-farm water storage, robotic technology, and equipment for storing and processing products.
October 2021 will also see the launch of first competitions of a new industry-led R&D Partnership Fund in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
For the cattle, sheep, and pig sectors, the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway will fund an annual visit from a vet to undertake diagnostic testing and providing advice on improving health, worth £269-£775 per annum, according to species.
We remain unaware of any decision by HMRC as to how any lump sum of BPS payments through a retirement scheme will be treated for taxation purposes.
If you missed Jeremy’s presentation or you would like to hear it again you can watch it here.