Farmers in England converting to organic production can double their earnings from the Government following a dramatic jump in subsidy rates this week.
Payments for organic farming are rising by between 46 per cent and 500 per cent for farmers signing up to convert their land in the next two years, in a Government bid to encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.
Farmers will receive up to double the amount of money available previously for actions such as converting grassland, horticulture or fruit growing land to organic practice.
“We are pleased to see this commitment to rewarding organic farming – it’s the first step towards recognising that we need to work in harmony with nature across the whole farmed environment,” said Adrian Steele from the Soil Association.
Applications for Countryside Stewardship schemes opened Tuesday, with farmers set to receive payments under it until a new post-Brexit standard for organic farming launches in 2024.
It is part of a wider overhaul of farming subsidies as the Government looks to build a post-Brexit regime that rewards farmers for improving outcomes for nature on their land.
The market for organic products has grown 23 per cent since 2019, Soil Association figures show, but the amount land farmed organically has remained largely the same in recent years.
To meet rising consumer demand, more British farms need to convert to organic, the Soil Association said.
A shift to more sustainable farming methods, which would make space for wildlife rich hedgerows, meadows, and peat bogs, could cut greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road, WWF said this week.
The charity called on the Government to draw up plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions from farming by more than 35 per cent by 2030, to “tackle the twin threats of climate change and nature loss”.