Organic sector welcomes launch of Defra’s Sustainable Farming Scheme

The Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) has welcomed the launch of Defra’s Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot scheme, and has said that the inclusion of organic farming marks a very positive move by the UK government in their outlook and intent for future agricultural policy.

“As a sector, we’ve been striving to highlight the multiple proven benefits and public goods that organic systems simultaneously deliver against the sustainable standards that Defra is seeking to implement,” commented OF&G CEO Roger Kerr.

“During this period of flux, there’s been a series of announcements from Whitehall that have given us a sense of unease and frustration. With this latest development, there’s some relief and, dare I say it, measured optimism.”

OF&G, alongside other organisations throughout the sector, have made come together to  help Defra understand the value of ensuring organic land management is integrated into future policy.

The policy paper states the SFI scheme is ‘intended to reward farmers for delivering environmental benefits across all farming systems, including organic farms.’

Mr Kerr said that ‘including organic farms’ may only be three small words but after months of work it “feels like the value that organic farming can deliver is now beginning to be recognised.”

“Consistent levels of support are vital in helping primary producers maintain economic viability and transition to farming systems that deliver multiple public goods, as organic is doing. Now, and even more so in the future, Britain’s farming community will have to simultaneously produce food while protecting and enhancing our natural environment, as we seek to address the biggest ecological crisis we’ve ever faced,” he added.

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