Sustainable Farming Incentive – expanded offer for 2024

Earlier this year we published an update for landowners on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), which provides landowners with funding if they agree to take certain actions for the benefit of the environment and wildlife on their land.

At the end of May, the government announced an extension to the funding available under SFI for 2024. This year, the number of actions on offer through SFI will increase from 23 to 102. The SFI actions in the expanded offer include:

  • The existing SFI 2023 offer.
  • Twenty-three new actions, including newly introduced actions on precision farming, moorland, flood and water management, agroforestry and no till; and
  • Fifty-seven improved versions of actions previously offered through Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier Scheme.

The government have incorporated some of the Countryside Stewardship actions to make it simpler, easier and faster to manage the agreements. The idea is that landowners will have more choice and the flexibility of SFI with the breadth and scale of Mid Tier, with less paperwork.

Among the expanded offer are new actions which will support flood preparedness and resilience, helping businesses to become more resilient to the changing climate and challenging weather conditions.

Who can apply?

For the first time, those who didn’t receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments can now begin the process of applying for a SFI agreement. This means that those new to farming can enter the scheme.

From September, those with a Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier or Higher-Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement will be able to end their agreement early to apply for a SFI agreement, or Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier once it opens for applications this winter.

The expanded offer will also be available to those farming on commons.

Farmers on SSSI sites can also now apply but must have consent from Natural England before they can start doing the relevant actions.


There are 10 actions which you must only do on a proportion of your farm. These actions are referred to as ‘limited area’ actions and include:

  • CIPM2: Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips
  • CAHL1: Pollen and nectar flower mix
  • CAHL2: Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land
  • CAHL3: Grassy field corners or blocks
  • CIGL1: Take improved grassland field corners or blocks out of management
  • CIGL2: Winter bird food on improved grassland
  • WBD3: In-field grass strips
  • AHW1: Bumblebird mix
  • AHW9: Unharvested cereal headland
  • AHW11: Cultivated areas for arable plants

You can select as many ‘limited area’ actions as you wish, but the total eligible area you enter into them must not be more than 25% of the total agricultural area of your farm.

Management payment increase

Included in SFI agreements will also be an additional management payment of £40 per hectare for up to the first 50 hectares entered into an eligible agreement and £20/ha for the first 50 hectares for years 2 and 3.

Landowners will need to familiarise themselves with the scheme details and what options best fit with their business. Many landowners will already be signed up to existing schemes and therefore need to decide how and if they incorporate the updated offer.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or other matters concerning rural land, please contact our team of experts, listen to our podcast, Experts in the Field or visit our Farms, Estates & Rural Land web page.