Stacks up for business
“It is hugely frustrating that nearly five years on from Defra’s Health and Harmony consultation, which set farming in England on a path towards public goods for public payments, we still only have three standards available for the SFI. It’s a sad reflection of the scheme’s progress and development that NFU members know more about what they will lose in direct payments than what they will gain from taking part in these new schemes.
“The NFU has always been very clear; for the ELM to succeed it needs to be simple, provide certainty and fairly reward farmers for taking part. This means schemes that are inclusive and available to every farm business – whether upland or lowland, tenant or owner-occupied – with a range of practical and profitable options available through a ‘foundation’ SFI standard to ensure the high uptake needed so these schemes have the desired impact.
Country Land & Business Association president Mark Tufnell said the announcement shows government is listening and adapting to the concerns of farmers.