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Shouler & Son’s rural business professionals are working with farm & estate business clients on the best way forward from 2022 in having digested the extent - and the limitations - of the ( ‘Sustainable Farming Initiative’ (SFI) policy document published by Defra earlier this month (02 December).

Its publication at the year’s end is a relief to professionals in the sector who have been eagerly anticipating the detail of the initiative in order to give the best advice to rural clients.

While the SFI policy document takes a ‘broad brush’ approach, it does point the way forward, beginning in 2022, as to how SFI sits within the wider ELMS (Environmental Land Management Schemes) re-framing of farming funding as it moves away from production to ‘reward for the public good’.

While the publication has been broadly welcomed by rural advisors, one critique is that it fails to provide the depth of detail many farming interests would want in planning production cycles or for capital expenditure and investment.

However, as Angela Wood, rural services professional associate, Shouler & Son, concludes, the SFI policy document does indicate the direction of travel for future farming funding as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) winds down as the mainstay of central funding during the coming five years.

She said, “The SFI is just the latest in a flurry of separate and quite disparate funding schemes made available by Defra this year.

“At Shouler & Son - as with any professional advisor as deep-rooted in the sector as we are - we are joining the dots for our farming & estate clients to ensure they place themselves in the most advantageous position in the new rural landscape in 2022 and beyond.”

For more information on Shouler & Son’s rural services and professional advice on eligibility for Defra, grant funding contact Angela Wood, email, tel 01664 560181 or see