Sustainable Farming Incentive

Continued Professional Development

Apply for 2024

In its place, the SFI pays farmers to manage their activities in a more environmentally sustainable way, aiming to produce food and also environmental goods and services which are seen as of wider benefit to society. The scheme is computer based and farmers need to submit their applications for ‘standards’ (topics for funding) online. Over time it is expected that Defra will increase the range of ‘standards’ on offer for applicants and a ‘pick and mix’ approach is intended, with each farmer choosing and applying for support from a range of standards that fit their farm. The SFI is being viewed by many farmers with concern. It is seen as complicated and requiring enhanced computer skills. This short course aims to dispel these fears and help with SFI applications.

Course Overview
This short course will provide participants with an understanding of the SFI as an important new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme. It is suited to farmers and other land managers who need to better understand the scheme and gain the confidence and insight to pursue the online application. During the course we will explain how the SFI works and clarify the benefits available. We will consider some real farms as case study examples, presented by farmers who have applied, and then help farmer participants start their own applications process. Or, if participants have already applied, we will help with a review of an existing application and advise how it might be improved.

Course Facilitator
Dr Howard Lee has been teaching and researching aspects of sustainable agriculture for about 40 years. He has taught in universities and county Colleges and is committed to national food security and farmer livelihoods. He has worked with growers and other land managers during this time and is familiar with running interactive workshops that deliver practical value.

During the course you will learn: 

  • What the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is;
  • How the SFI funding process works;
  • How an online application for the SFI might be started or reviewed if already underway.

Course content and structure 

Morning session: 

  • The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) with case study examples: 
    • The background – ELMS and how the SFI fits within it;
    • The purpose of the SFI;
    • The process of applying for the SFI online

Afternoon session:

  • Participant farmers will have the opportunity to start their online application or review one already underway with supervision by experts
  • Discussion: the future of farmer support and how land managers can optimise their access to the SFI as it diversifies and also how it might lead to further support schemes

Course details

Dates & Location

Wednesday 5th June 2024

Plumpton College


1 day course

10:00 - 15:00



Lunch included.


Teaching methods 

  • Face to face presentation 
  • Demonstration in a workshop setting with farmer presentations 
  • Supervised computer access by participants to help with new and/or existing SFI applications 


  • Copies of key documents
  • Computer access with expert support

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