AS the rollout of the Sustainable Farming Initiative begins, Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, is urging local farmers to get ready.

Local farmers can sign up for the agricultural payment system from September 18 and start registering their interest from August 30.

The SFI pays farmers for taking actions that support food production, farm productivity and resilience, whilst protecting and enhancing environment. There are 23 actions on offer under the new and improved 2023 scheme, including on soil health, moorland, hedgerows, integrated pest management, farmland wildlife, buffer strips, and low input grassland.

Central Devon MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride said: 'In addition to their lead role in food production, our farmers do a huge amount to protect our environment and precious countryside.

'The SFI provides financial incentives to farmers for taking action in a variety of ways, from improving soil and water quality to looking after wildlife habitats.

'The majority of local farmers will qualify and should register their interest ahead of applications opening on 18th September.'

Unlike existing and previous schemes where farmers have had to wait until the end of the first year of their agreement to receive any payment, payments under SFI 2023 will be paid quarterly to support farmers’ cashflow and activities required in the scheme.

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