Our winter newsletter is now available for all to download here  “Winter spring 22 final”

In these fast-moving times we are committed to keeping our members up-to-date with all the changes around Defra’s plans for new support schemes to agriculture. The main focus of this edition is to explain the Environmental Land Management (ELM) Schemes and the facts as we know them.

SFI 22 Moorland and Rough Grazing off the mark 

We examine the Sustainable Farming Incentive 22 for Moorland and Rough Grazing (SFI22 MRG) in detail as this is the only option for commoners at the moment. We find it wanting for commons. The payment rates are miserly and widely off the mark.  They will cover expenditure, but not much else. It is not a lifeline. It goes nowhere near replacing the growing funding gap for commoners as their BPS is reduced.

On large commons the tasks are going to be difficult to complete, leaving us wondering if it is worthwhile to sign up. See pages 7 & 8 for our “road test” of what is expected.

But don’t close down your options

SFI 22 MRG is the only ELM offer available right now for moorland commons. So closing down your options from the start is not very sensible. Take a long hard look at SFI 22 MRG for your common.  Ask yourself can your Association use SFI to the  advantage of all rights holders?  It does pay you to collect and map public goods data. It helps you know more about your common and the public goods it provides. So when new ELM schemes for commons come available, your Association will be in a better position to apply.

Also think about SFI 22 MRG for your allotments/intake land above the Moorland Line. It could work better there as the land parcels are smaller and collecting data is easier. In the meanwhile, here’s hoping the unusually buoyant sheep and cattle prices of 2021continue, but don’t let them lull you into a false sense of security.

Other articles 

The newsletter also includes articles on:  Sheep Scab research with Lakeland Farmers; an update on the “Our Upland Commons” project: and conclusions and  learning from the Defra funded Commons Test and Trial.

We hope you find the newsletter interesting and useful.

In between sending out our printed newsletter twice a year, we plan to send out an occasional e-newsletter with information and updates regarding commons. We won’t be cluttering up your inbox or duplicating information you already receive from other farming organisations. You will only hear from us when we have something new to share. Please sign up using the form at the bottom of the News and Issues or Contacts pages.