Thinking of going Organic?
Converting to organic production requires careful consideration. Gaining organic certification requires compliance with many regulations, which can at first appear complicated.
Davies Organic Consultancy can advise and support throughout the conversion process, from initial questions to full certification, providing help with business plans and advice on supply chains and financial planning, including ensuring that your business receives all grant aid to which it is entitled. Before deciding that organic farming is the right choice for you, it is vital that you ask yourself the following questions:
Will it suit me?
Any farm can be converted to organic production but you need to be sure that the practices involved in organic farming suit both you and your farm. The principal aim of organic farming is to work in harmony with nature; organic farming requires a return to low input, rotational agricultural practice and lower stocking densities and this necessarily involves a degree of risk management. You may need to be prepared to change the way you think about farming.
Do I understand the Organic market?
When considering conversion you need to examine the market that you are going to enter to understand exactly how maximum returns can be made. The organic market is dynamic; all recent data shows that it is the fastest growing UK market and has been for the past 3 years. Whilst this provides excellent opportunities, you’ll need to ensure that you can produce what the market requires and that you will be able to secure the best headline prices. You cannot simply assume that organic produce will always ensure a premium price.
Am I producing suitable breeds or varieties?
The breeds or varieties that you currently produce may not be the most suitable for organic production and once you have identified the market you wish to sell into, you may need to consider changes in order to maximise your success. The right advice is crucial in making these changes.
When should I convert?
Once you have decided to convert and have identified your markets you will need to make the next vital decision - the date of your conversion. Choosing the right time will depend on your most important enterprise - farms counting arable as their key enterprise will require a different conversion model and different timings from those focusing on suckler beef.
What conversion model should I follow?
Conversion to organic farming is not a ‘one size fits all’ process. There are many ways of converting and it is vital to choose the one that suits your business. We will discuss your business in depth with you before helping you to decide on the best conversion model to follow. Take a look at the ‘Conversion Strategies’ page for more information.
Making the right choices for your business and finding the correct conversion strategy for your farm requires careful planning. Davies Organic Consultancy will help you to take the best direction and find the most successful route into the organic market.
Choosing the most appropriate conversion strategy for your business is vital; get it right and you’ll benefit from the most efficient transition from conventional farming practices to organic management, improved success in the organic market and greater financial security through the conversion process.
There are a variety of conversion models to consider; the right one for you will depend on a number of factors, including your business goals. Davies Organic Consultancy will work closely with you to determine the type of conversion that will bring the greatest benefits to your business and provide the most effective entry into the organic market. Below is a brief overview of the most common conversion strategies:
A standard conversion generally takes 24 months, during which time no prohibited inputs can be used.
Once this monitored time period has elapsed, any forage crops can be cut and sold as organic. For cereal crops to be considered as organic for sale they must be planted into organic land, after this 24 month monitored conversion period.
Land conversion followed by livestock conversion
This style of conversion will see the land completing its conversion with the stock starting their conversion at the end of the 24 month period. Any stock that are on the farm after this point must be managed to the organic standards and can only be sold as organic once completing their relevant conversion period.
In a simultaneous conversion, both the land and livestock convert together. Livestock and land on the farm must be managed to the organic standards from the conversion start date, with a variety of regulations covering the sale of livestock during the conversion period.
Fast Track conversion
There are two types of fast track conversion, both of which are subject to restrictions. We can assess whether your farm will qualify for either of the fast track models.
In staged conversion, parts of the farm are converted at different stages of the year or over a phased timetable which may stretch over several years. backup⇑⇑
Organic Entry Level Stewardship scheme (OELS)
Are you missing out on valuable farm payments simply because you don’t know what you’re entitled to?
While both conventional and organic farms may be eligible for environmental stewardship grant aid, the payments available for organic management are significantly higher. Introduced in 2005, the Organic Entry Level Stewardship scheme consists of a two tiered grant aid payment system for organic farmers.
The OELS payments can make all the difference in ensuring the success of your organic conversion, providing valuable financial help throughout the conversion process and onwards as you continue to operate a fully organic farm. Many farmers miss out on some of the payments to which they are entitled because they lack the time to complete the complex application forms or because they are unaware of the management options that qualify for payment.
While the OELS payment is given in recognition of a farm’s organic accreditation, it must be earned via a point system that rewards a variety of environmental management options covering, among others, field margins, woodland, field, and historic and landscape features management. To benefit fully from the OELS grant aid available requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of the legislation, both of which can prove time consuming. Our OELS management service will save you time and money, building your application quickly and efficiently to ensure you receive the maximum grant aid. With Davies Organic Consultancy working with you at this vital stage, your business will be in the best position to maximise the potential of organic farming. backup⇑⇑