Conducted over social media, Hutchinsons has gauged the interaction by farmers with the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), with the company stating that results marry with what is been said at SFI meetings and what is been heard by agronomists in the field.
It revealed that 28% had applied to the scheme, suggesting that a substantial number of farmers are actively participating. However, 44% stated that they were planning to apply but were too busy, suggesting that the challenges of autumn 2023 have presented a barrier to engagement.
More concerning is that 20% responded that they did not think SFI was worthwhile. Hutchinsons suggest that this indicates communication gaps, or perhaps misunderstanding about the benefits and flexibility. Added to this is that 8% were unsure of the requirements, which indicates that clearer, more accessible information is needed.
Georgina Wallis, head of Environmental Services at Hutchinsons, said that these results align with observations on the ground and urged farmers to take advantage of quieter periods over the next few weeks to explore the options.
She added that growers should look beyond initial reservations, particularly as recent weather conditions have posed challenges to crop survival and highlighted the flexibility of the scheme, which enables amendments to be made over the three-year period.
“The survey on social media provides valuable insights into farmer engagement with the Sustainable Farming Incentive. While some farmers are actively participating, there is a need to address concerns and misconceptions to encourage broader adoption,” said Ms Wallis.
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