Defra has been reviewing the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) to ensure that the scheme is effective and not used too heavily across the farming industry, in a way that compromises the environment, food production and food security. Nevertheless, important features of SFI are the flexibility and freedom of choice in the options available.

Defra, however, is concerned about the amount of land being taken out of food production. With economic instability and challenging weather conditions, it is thought that this may become a greater issue in the future.

As a result, a limit is being imposed, whereby no more than 25% of a farm’s total land holding can be put in six of the nine options presented in the SFI.

The 6 limited options are:

  • Take improved grassland field corners or blocks out of management - IGL1  
  • Winter bird food on improved grassland - IGL2  
  • Pollen and nectar flower mix - AHL1  
  • Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land - AHL2  
  • Grassy field corners and blocks - AHL3  
  • Flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips – IPM2 

With a cap on the above six options, at a total of 25% of the landholding, Defra believes this to be the right balance. Taking more land out of production is unlikely to benefit food production or the environment.

For advice on any rural property matters, contact Richard Greasby - Head of Butler Sherborn Rural - on 01285 883740 or



See all images
Cirencester Estate Agent

Patience, Gorgs and Alex Geikie, April 2021

We are a returning client of Butler Sherborn and we would highly recommend them if you’re looking to sell your property. The two properties we sold with BS were very different, but the BS team have always been extremely professional, approachable and friendly. And their communication skills are second to none! Thank you again!
— Patience, Gorgs and Alex Geikie