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Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) – An Overview

16 October 2023
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Launched in 2022, Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) provides incentives to farmers and crofters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, improve nutrient management, and increase efficiency across their enterprises. 

There are three categories farmers and crofters can apply for: 

  1. Carbon audits

  2. Soil sampling and analysis

  3. Animal health and welfare. 

How do I access PSF?

Soil sampling and analysis

Any farming and crofting business registered with Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Division (SGRPID) is eligible, but for soil sampling you need to have submitted a Single Application Form (SAF) in the year of sampling and be a registered sheep/and or cattle keeper to claim animal health & welfare options. 

Carbon audits

Carbon audits are available to businesses who do not already have one, or the existing carbon audit is over three years old, and it does not align with the PAS 2050 standard. Recommendations of mitigation actions to reduce emissions produced on farm from a Farm Business Adviser Accreditation Scheme for Scotland (FBAASS) member are required. You can find your local FBAASS adviser here.

Soils analysed for pH, phosphate (P), potash (K), and carbon (either Loss on ignition (LOI) or Dumas test) are eligible under PSF, providing that the P and K nutrient requirements for those fields are calculated using these results and the SRUC technical notes. A valid carbon audit is required before you can claim for soil sampling, but the carbon audit can be completed before or after the soil samples are taken. 

Animal health and welfare

Up to two of the animal health and welfare options can be undertaken each year. The options are: 

  1. Bull pre-breeding examination

  2. Calf respiratory investigation +/- virus screening

  3. Faecal egg counts for liver fluke and flukicide efficacy testing (available for cattle & sheep)

  4. Faecal egg counts for gastrointestinal parasites and wormer efficacy testing (available for cattle & sheep)

  5. Blood sample 12 sheep per management group to determine sheep scab status
  6. Cull ewe screening (includes blood sample, post-mortem or OPA scanning)

  7. Veterinary flock lameness assessment 

This work must be completed by an expert adviser e.g. vet, who will provide actions for treatment or prevention, depending on the results of investigations on an Expert Adviser form. There is no requirement to have a valid carbon audit to access the animal health and welfare options. 

For all three options work must be completed within the scheme year (1st January – 31st December) and claimed by the end of February in the following year. 


Funding available

Standard costs of £500 for carbon audits and £250 per animal health option (up to £500) can be claimed. The amount you can claim for soil sampling depends on how much region 1 land was claimed on your SAF and actual costs. Small farms (under 50 hectares) can receive a maximum of £300 for soil sampling and analysis, while for larger farms the maximum allowance is paid at £30 per hectare on 20% of the region 1 BPS claimed areas on the SAF submitted that year. If you take the soil samples yourself, an additional £4 per sample is available. Also, once you submit your first soil sampling and animal health and welfare claims you will receive a further £500 (£250 each) for a one-off personal development payment to expand your knowledge of best practice in soil sampling, nutrient management, and animal health. 

How do I claim PSF funding?

If you have a carbon audit, soil sampling, or animal health and welfare options completed between 1st January and 31st December 2024, you need to submit your claim using the online portal by 28th February 2025. Only one claim per option can be submitted annually. To submit a claim for carbon audits and soil analysis you need to upload invoice(s), the business bank statement(s) (for proof of payment), a copy of your soil analysis and fertiliser recommendations, and provide some details about your carbon audit. The claim process for the animal health and welfare options is much simpler, as only the Expert Adviser form (one per intervention) needs to be uploaded. If you would like your consultant to submit your PSF claims, you will need to authorise a new mandate “The National Test Program” on your RP&S portal. 

Next steps

  • If you want to take advantage of PSF funding, speak to your consultant, agronomist, or vet to arrange this work.

  • Make sure all work is completed by 31st December.

  • Submit your claim(s) by 28th February. 

Laura Henderson, SAC Consulting

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