The Sustainable Farming Incentive opened for applications in England 30 June 2022
The scheme is available to all farmers who currently receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments, designed to be accessible, and will reward sustainable practices which support food production and benefit the environment.
Defra is opening the scheme in a controlled rollout from 30 June to manage the opening in a careful, measured way: for those with no other agri-environment agreements, they’ll be able to apply online straight away; for everyone else, they’ll be asked to let the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) know they want to apply and RPA will get in touch and support them to do so. This is to ensure everyone receives the right level of service and support during this initial phase of rollout.
Organic: the benchmark for advanced regenerative farming
There is a new ‘buzz word’ being championed by numerous industry stakeholders and influencers – regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture seeks to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide by growing plants that move carbon dioxide into the soil mostly through ‘no-till” and/or "reduced till" practices and permanent perennial pastures and grasslands.
There are several individuals, groups, and organizations that have attempted to define the principles of regenerative agriculture. In their review of the existing literature on regenerative agriculture, researchers at Wageningen University created a database of 279 published research articles on regenerative agriculture.
Their analysis of this database found that people using the term regenerative agriculture were using different principles and practises to guide their interpretation.
While there are some excellent regenerative initiatives, the lack of clarity around a regenerative approach is worrying.
It means potentially hazardous synthetic fertilisers, harmful synthetic biocides, and genetically modified or engineered crops with potential risks to ecosystems and to rural economies may all be used. Furthermore, animal welfare may not always be prioritised. In sharp contrast, organic’s legally binding production standards already clearly enshrines the best of regenerative agriculture’s principles.
Over seventy years organic production has focused on strengthening the health of soils; increasing biodiversity; improving the water cycle; and increasing resilience to climate change. Organic farming continues to reconnect humans with nature’s rhythms and ecosystems and has regenerated natural landscapes while providing us with nutritious food.
OF&G believe in the need for a holistic and multi-dimensional approach to soil health and biodiversity enhancement.
Organic focuses not only on the amount of carbon stored in soils, but also on biodiversity protection, which requires a systemic transition of the farming system.
Organic producers already undertake regenerative practises, day in day out as they implement a clear and legally binding organic production standard. Organic farmers and businesses within the supply chain are annually audited for compliance. OF&G believe that there is no appetite or need to add to the regulatory burden with additional substantiation of so-called regenerative methods.
In the UK, organic farming is advanced regenerative. OF&G believe the organic sector should communicate the already substantiated regenerative nature of organic production more openly and effectively.
This is not simply hubris: organic management shows a proven positive impact on soil-based greenhouse gas emissions and soil health. On average the climate protection performance of organic results in 1082 kg CO2 equivalent per hectare per year, due to lower GHG emissions and increased carbon sequestration in soils.
This is the outcome of the organic ‘regenerative’ principles and practises detailed in organic standards.
OF&G Staff Contact Details
In response to current Government advice that everyone who can work from home should do, the majority of our staff are working remotely.
We would like to reiterate however that there should be no disruption in our services, with the team being available as usual Monday-Friday 9am– 5pm.
To help ensure you can contact the relevant person effectively please look at the OF&G staff contact details
OF&G is calling for organic to be more openly recognised within the new agricultural policy.
Organic is a transformative thread in farming policy. Organic farming is an essential element in a wider discourse about how we can alleviate the social and environmental impacts of our farming and food system. We should embed organic in future farming policy.
Our society is reliant on finite resources, we all need to be more careful in how we use these precious assets.
To strike the right balance in the UK’s approach, policy makers and those committed to developing an effective future-oriented policy must take a more consistent open-minded appraisal of the potential for organic.
Our politicians and decision makers must be bold and resolute. They have an enormous responsibility to protect our environment and reduce the use of products derived from fossil fuels. They really must support organic farming, which is tried and tested. Time is running out.
Equally, the UK organic sector needs to regain its confidence. Those who are exponents of organic principles and practise can be justifiably proud of what they do. We invite government, environmental NGOs and colleagues across the food and farming sector to wholeheartedly embrace organic.
To read the OF&G manifesto and to access a downloadable copy go to -
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Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) is a Community Interest Company with more than forty years experience in the organic sector.
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The OF&G organic certification team understands business and what it’s like to operate in the sector.Speak to the team
The OF&G website hosts a wealth of organic and other related technical documents, information packs and forms.Download documents
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OF&G has more than forty years experience in the organic sector and is the longest-established Defra approved control body.About OF&G
The certification process takes you through the whole ethos of organic farming. Don’t be scared of certification – it’s part of the learning curve.
Our ethos is very much embedded in the organic world, so to get certification seemed completely natural and the right thing to do.
“I look at it as a whole business: having cows and sheep, the environmental stewardship, and being organic knits together. That holistic approach is what allows us to flourish.”
Producing organic poultry for Moy Park gives us a chance to make a reasonable income while maintaining the welfare of birds and appealing to consumers who understand the importance of welfare.
We waited until 2015 to get organic certification on our cheese company. We wanted to get our cheese certified because there weren’t that many organic cheeses available in the UK so it does make your products stand out.
What I like about working with OF&G is that you can pick up the phone to your organic certification officer anytime and ask questions. You get to know them and you can enjoy a laugh with them. It’s a supportive relationship.
Technical leaflets (TLs) & more
We host a wealth of organic certification-related technical documents, information packs and forms which you may download for free from the OF&G website.Search leaflets & papers
Access the bioC directory of approximately 70,000 Certified Organic Operators to verify up to date certificate information and other company details.Find a certified producer
Search for Approved Inputs by type, company or product. Select any business to see further contact details, such as address, telephone and website.Find out more