UK government ups cash incentives for farmers who go organic
In the UK, government subsidies to switch to organic farming are set to rise by an average of 25% via the government’s Countryside Stewardship scheme, according to Soil Association. Farmers who convert to organic will receive up to a third more cash than last year as the government increases support for nature-friendly farming. The UK government has increased all payments for farming that benefits the environment via Countryside Stewardship, but the increase for organic is significantly above the average increase of 10%.
The renewed support follows another rate hike last year when payments for organic rose by between 46 and 500% for those entering a new scheme. It also follows the 11th year of consecutive growth for the UK organic market, which surpassed £3.1billion in 2022.
Some farmers converting to organic will be able to earn twice as much as before from government incentives in Countryside Stewardship agreements that will run for five years, the Soil Association said.
Options are also available for nature-friendly practices that are in harmony with organic principles, such as avoiding insecticides and protecting soils, via the new Sustainable Farming Incentives (SFI).
Soil Association organic sector advisor Adrian Steele said: “All farmers have faced huge challenges during the last few years with the combined impacts of the pandemic, the Ukraine War, post-Brexit policies, extreme weather, and the cost-of-living crisis. But it is clear that there are big opportunities for sustainable farming and organic is receiving renewed government support.”
Farmers can apply for organic conversion or maintenance payments via the mid-tier options for Countryside Stewardship, which will be open for applications until 18 August 2023.