The Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) has welcomed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra’s) announcement on the roll-out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme in 2022 and the inclusion in the statement of a recognition of the need to support organic within the emerging regulatory framework.

OF&G CEO Roger Kerr said:

“Farm businesses must have forward notice to plan ahead. I know we are not alone across the farming sector in wanting to get details now, or as soon as possible on how this will be integrated into legislation.

The mention of ‘an easily accessible, holistic package for organic farmers’ is the acknowledgement of the need for on-going support of organic farmers and support for those going into conversion.

“Organic has clear, verified and robust standards and proven delivery of environmental benefits and we are pleased to see Defra include it within the SFI proposals.

“During Environment Secretary, George Eustice’s speech at the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Conference, he provided six examples of farmers embracing environmentally benign farming practices, two of were from certified organic farmers.

“This clearly illustrates that a tried and tested organic approach can deliver the transformative outcomes that Defra seeks to secure.

Eustice rightly said that ‘success in farming requires attention to detail’. He must be mindful to apply the same rule to government policy making.

“We’ll continue to monitor future development of SFI and are keen to maintain our current dialogue with Defra to ensure that organic is consistently and fairly represented.”