Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) says the organic sector is ‘cautiously optimistic after gaining clear recognition’ within Defra’s new pilot scheme, the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).

The certifier welcomes the launch of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), calling it a ‘big win’ and saying that ‘the inclusion of organic farming marks a very positive move’ by the Government in terms of its future ‘outlook and intent’ regarding agricultural policy.

“As a sector, we’ve been striving to highlight the multiple proven benefits and public goods that organic systems simultaneously deliver against the sustainable standards that Defra is seeking to implement.

“During this period of flux, there’s been a series of announcements from Whitehall that have given us a sense of unease and frustration. With this latest development, there’s some relief and, dare I say it, measured optimism,” says Roger Kerr, CEO of OF&G.

With this latest development, there’s some relief and, dare I say it, measured optimism

“As the largest certifier of UK organic land, OF&G has a responsibility to all organic businesses to support livelihoods and help maintain a food and farming community that represents a real opportunity for the UK worldwide and continues to grow even in these unprecedented times. Now, and even more so in the future, Britain’s farming community will have to simultaneously produce food while protecting and enhancing our natural environment, as we seek to address the biggest ecological crisis we’ve ever faced.

“OF&G believes the organic sector can help Defra achieve their ambition to deliver their 25 Year Environment Plan goals and carbon net zero targets. We look forward to working with colleagues in Defra, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency to ensure organic continues to be recognized for all its environmental benefits,” he adds.