17 November 2000

Stable business is vital

CONVERTING to organic is budgeted to cost the Turner family £30,000 in addition to a £35,000 loss of income.

But two-thirds of this total cost will be met by a conversion grant.

To consider conversion, you must have a stable business, warns Anthony Turner. "Organic is not something to consider if your business is going down the plug hole."

The £30,000 budget covers building extensions to meet with Soil Association criteria on animal welfare, hedging and trees, buying in straw because the farm now grows less cereal, and establishing new leys and a boundary hedge.

It will take about five years to recover the cost of conversion, says Guy Turner. "We should see an improvement next summer when we can sell organic milk for 30p/litre, but the grant has been a life saver." &#42