Following on from my article in October about Biodiversity Net Gain, I see there is more and more in the press about Natural Capital and what farmers need to know.
I am frequently being asked by my clients what they can do to improve their Carbon Footprint and what help is available to them.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive is a grant now available to farmers and landowners and is the first scheme under the new Agricultural Transition Plan to be introduced.
Under this scheme farmers will be required to manage their land, and particularly soil quality, to improve food production in a more environmentally sustainable way to provide public goods such as improved water quality.
Farmers who claim Basic Payment Scheme with land in England are eligible to apply and there are three standards available – arable and horticultural soils, grassland soils and moorland soils.
As with all grants, the higher the level of commitment and input, the higher the level of payment with payments ranging from £10.31/Ha to £58.00/Ha depending on soil type and agreement level.
Agreements will last three years with payments made on a quarterly basis and the application window is now open with no current deadline.
As always, the devil is in the detail and it may not appeal to all farmers and landowners. Those taking up the grant will need to carefully consider whether the scheme will limit the flexibility of future cropping and if it is financially viable for the business to enter.
Whilst we do not envisage this will directly influence the value of agricultural land, it is certainly another factor for prospective purchases to take into account.
With new schemes and new legislation to look forward to, the conversation about Natural Capital is ever increasing and, in an attempt to try to answer some of the questions, Barbers Rural are running a series of seminars with guest speakers to try to advise farmers and landowners about what it will mean to their farming businesses.
Clearly one of the key questions is how the rules surrounding Natural Capital will affect the price of land going forward and, as yet, we don’t really know.
Harriet Jones is a Rural Surveyor at Barbers Rural and can be contacted on 01630 692500 or email@example.com