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OF&G – Organic farmers better off under SFI and CS

By 20 September 2023September 21st, 2023No Comments

Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) has published a technical guide outlining how the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) payments can be combined to deliver increased payments of up to 50% to organic farmers when compared to historic BPS rates.

The chief executive of the organic certification body, Roger Kerr believes it is vital to promote the ‘easy win’ financial benefits highlighted in the new technical leaflet, which has been prepared by William Waterfield of the Farm Consultancy Group.

“The outcomes of this independent research reflect the high environmental status of organic and demonstrate how existing organic licensees can capitalise on the opportunities available to them by stacking SFI payments on top of existing CS agreements,” says Mr Kerr.

“The data presents a robust argument to farmers considering converting to organic to take that positive step and full advantage of the new schemes,” says Mr Kerr.

The study is calculated on two farm case studies (one predominantly arable, the other mostly livestock) of 210 hectares, the average size of organic farms certified by OF&G.

The technical leaflet shows the income comparison between old BPS and the combined CS and SFI payments. It reveals an increase from £48,510 to £68,671 for the livestock farm. On the arable farm rates would rise even more, from £48,510 to £73,061, which equates to a 50.6% increase.

OF&G anticipates a significant divergence overall in the way English farms are managed following the roll out of Defra’s environmentally driven policies.

“There’ll be many farmers both organic and non-organic who’ll wholeheartedly embrace the new schemes and their approach, while others will reject the environmental principles and go all out for increased yield by foregoing the schemes,” adds Mr Kerr.

“Opting for the second route of increasingly intensive farming practices, which may produce higher yields in the short-term, will come at a huge environmental and societal cost and undermine the very basis of production and long-term food security.

“We must build back resilience in our farming systems and embrace the transformational change this policy seeks to encourage,” says Mr Kerr.

The technical leaflet can be downloaded here.

Defra has previously announced farmers can apply for SFI payments from 18 September 2023*.

*Government announces application dates for Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 – GOV.UK (