Up to £1200 available for Scottish farmers considering organic farming.
Farmers considering organic farming in Scotland are being offered free business support worth up to £1200 from the Farm Advisory Service
There are many commercial benefits to Scottish farmers from converting to organic farming. Organic food sales were valued at almost £2 billion in 2015 and farmers almost always get paid an ‘organic premium’ for their produce. However, many interested in organic farming are wary of the time and cost of converting to organic processes.
The Farm Advisory Service is supporting farmers to overcome these initial challenges by offering up to £1200 to conduct integrated land management plans (ILMPs).
ILMPs combine farm specific business and financial assessments with sustainable strategies for land use. They are designed to help all farmers develop long term plans to meet their business objectives, and can be particularly valuable for those considering converting to organic farming.
ILMPs are developed with the support of accredited technical specialists, who assess a farm’s strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities for business development. This ranges from assessing the suitability of land, business and infrastructure for organic farming to providing guidance on best practice in marketing organic products.
FAS specialists also advise on the public support available to organic farmers, such as the subsidies provided through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). Under AECS non-organic farmers are given a higher set of payments to convert to organic farming, and existing organic farmers are provided maintenance payments to continue to farm organically.
David Michie, Head of Farming and Land Use, Soil Association Scotland, said:
“We know that organic farming has significant benefits for the environment; and with the Scottish organic market seeing significant growth again this year, as well as good premiums still on offer at the farm gate, there is a great opportunity for farm businesses to improve their bottom lines. Organic farming is a win-win for business and the environment, and FAS can help those considering conversion to achieve their organic ambitions.”
ILMPs are not just available for organic farming, all farmers and crofters in Scotland can benefit from the service. To find out how to access this support and chart a path to sustainable business development contact our helpline on 0300 323 0161.
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