i) Defra promises 30% increase in payments for improving soil health
The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced the payment rates for the new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) at Cereals 2021.
Those joining the SFI from 2022 will be paid around £26/ha for the most basic soil management and up to £70/ha for increasing soil organic matter. This “roughly equates to a 30% uplift on what would have been the case had the old EU methodology been applied” according to Mr Eustice.
However, it is believed that smaller and horticultural farmers are unlikely to benefit and that farmers will need to pursue other streams of revenue as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is phased out.
ii) Consumer awareness of regenerative agriculture
A recent questionnaire conducted by AHDB and YouGov revealed that only 14% of British consumers have heard of regenerative agriculture, however, those aged 16-44 are more aware (16%) than those aged 45+ (13%).
Welsh consumers are also more likely to have heard of regenerative agriculture (21%) compared with the UK average (14%).
73% of consumers believed that British farmers and growers have done a good job in producing food for consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
iii) Fourth UK beef processing site approved for exports to US
The Foyle Food Group in Glocester has become the fourth UK beef processing site to be approved for exports to the US on the ‘USDA Approved’ list.
The UK has exported more than £3 million worth of beef to the US since it was granted access to the market again in 2020 as US beef prices rise and consumers demand more premium products.