Environmental Land Management scheme prospectus launched

Payment rates and standards issued for 2023

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set out detailed plans for England’s farming sector, including payment rates and standards for ELM schemes in 2023.

The accelerated roll out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive - a key part of the Government’s Environmental Land Management schemes - will provide farmers with a diverse range of paid actions to manage hedgerows for wildlife, plant nectar-rich wildflowers and manage crop pests without the use of insecticides.

Six new standards will be added to the Sustainable Farming Incentive this year, meaning farmers can receive payment for actions on hedgerows, grassland, arable and horticultural land, pest management and nutrient management. They build on the three existing standards to improve soil health and moorlands introduced in 2022 – which nearly 1,900 farmers already have in agreements.

Please read Defra’s blog post about the announcement for more information. Or you can read the full document on GOV.UK.

Responding to the announcement, Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land and Business Association, said:

“This is crunch time for a sector that has stoically tolerated years of turbulence and uncertainty.

“These standards and payment rates are broadly in line with what was expected, and will encourage many arable farmers to take the leap into the new agricultural schemes. But there is little new in this for those on moorlands, or the hard-pressed hill farmer struggling to earn a living.

“Make no mistake, the move towards payment for environmental delivery is a welcome one – it will benefit the planet, the public and, in time, the farmer. It places England as a world leader in greener agriculture. But this major change in agricultural policy comes at a time of rampant inflation, poor labour supply and constant extreme weather events. The stakes for farmers could not be higher, and it is incumbent on the UK Government to make these schemes accessible to all types of farms, thus giving the industry the confidence we need to make these schemes work.

“For our part, we encourage every farmer to look very closely at these schemes."

The CLA will be running webinars and road shows to help you better understand how the schemes can apply to you. Find out more here.

Environmental Land Management schemes explained

Detailed analysis on the new land management options available, payment rates and the evolution of Countryside Stewardship