18 Oct 2023
by Oli Hill, Andrew Pearson

SFI 2023 sees significant interest as first farmers receive early payments


The first English farmers to sign up for the revised Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) have now received their initial payment, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed today (18 October).

The early payments, worth 25% of the annual value of farmers’ agreements, were made a month after the start of applications. According to Defra, all farmers with an agreement starting on 1 October 2023 have now received the payment to help with farm business cash flow.

In September the Government committed to making earlier payments to farmers who apply for SFI 2023 and have an agreement that goes live before the end of the year.

The scheme pays farmers in England to take actions that support food production, farm profitability and resilience while protecting and enhancing the environment.

Record interest

Defra says the SFI 2023 offer has received record interest from farmers, including those who have had agreements under SFI 2022. Official figures show that more than 14,000 registrations of interest have been made and almost 1,000 applications submitted since the scheme started accepting applications last month.

From the end of this week, most farmers in England will be able to apply directly online, rather than expressing an interest first.

See also

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “It’s been fantastic to see the enthusiasm with which farmers have embraced the latest SFI offer, and we are supporting them by delivering faster payments than ever before. 

“SFI has something on offer for every type of farmer, and we will be processing applications as quickly as possible to get more payments into pockets this year and help farmers improve their cash flow”.

Grant webinar

Next month Defra is hosting a webinar on The Slurry Infrastructure grant, Round 2.

Date: 9 November 2023
Time: 14:30-16:00
To register, click here.

Leads from Defra’s slurry team, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and the Environment Agency will provide an overview of the Slurry Infrastructure grant, covering what’s new in round 2 and how to apply. For further details on the grant, visit the GOV.UK website.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions about the grant as part of a Q&A session.


Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

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Andrew Pearson

Andrew Pearson

Policy Manager, AIC

[email protected]
07464 540421

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