A plan to make Scottish agriculture and food production more sustainable both economically and environmentally offers significant opportunities to farmers and crofters.

Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) brings incentives to raise understanding of carbon emissions and sequestration, plus guidance on lowering emissions and increasing efficiencies.

Claimants under the Scottish Government scheme can get financial help to undertake carbon audits, soil sampling and analysis, and animal health and welfare interventions.

The scheme is designed to aid those farmers, crofters and agricultural contactors registered for funding with Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (SGRPID) and applies to Scotland only.

What’s your carbon count?

Designed to boost ‘climate performance’, a carbon audit will establish a business’s carbon footprint, identify sources and quantities of greenhouse gas emissions on farms and in areas where simple changes can lead to improved efficiency, and reduce operating costs and emissions.

A carbon audit claim could provide a £500 payment towards the cost of carrying out a carbon audit. Eligibility criteria are set out on the Government’s PSF page.

Soil sampling

Designed to improve nutrient management planning (NMP), the soil sampling strand of the scheme encourages better use of nutrients from inorganic and organic fertiliser by matching applications to crop requirements, reducing loss of nutrients to the environment.

Specialists recommend annual sampling of at least 20% of Region 1 land – better-quality agricultural land that has been used for arable cropping, temporary grass and permanent grass. Applications can be made in two categories – more or less than 50Ha (125Ac).

To help businesses whose actual costs exceed their annual allowance, claimants can use the same invoice/ supporting information for the remaining actual cost up to the maximum soil sampling allowance in the following years.

A farm over 50Ha could receive £850 of funding towards soil sampling in its first year, while a smaller property could receive £550 of funding.

Animal care

A “starter package” is included in the scheme to prompt a review of flocks and herds and consideration of health and welfare interventions that improve performance. The aim is to encourage improved standards, regardless of business size or current health status.

A standard £250 will be paid for each qualifying intervention, based on proof of investigation plus advised action, provided on the standard supporting document signed by an expert adviser. First-time applicants receive a further £250 for ‘development’ (time spent researching animal health and welfare best practice).

Livestock keepers can claim for up to £750 in year one and £500 in the second year.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of any of the schemes mentioned, contact one of our agents at your local Galbraith office.

  • Natural Capital: Galbraith’s expert advisers guide our clients in realising value in all land uses – by assessing and measuring natural assets, furthering opportunities in biodiversity net gain, and ensuring stakeholders are rewarded fully for their investment in and contribution to delivering ecosystem services and net-zero outcomes.