Arable land is to be given priority for organic conversion funding in Wales this year.
The Welsh Government has opened the application window for the Organic Farming Conversion Scheme (OFCS) and said it will prioritise farmers who are converting land used for arable production.
Existing agreement holders who want to bring in additional land for conversion are next in line for funding.
Other applications that meet the eligibility requirements for minimum land area will then be considered, the Welsh Government has confirmed.
Wales’ Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies, insists organic farming remains a strong industry.
“Organic farming is growing in Wales with more and more farmers recognising the added value that organic food can bring and responding to the increased demand from consumers,’’ he said.
“Many people who buy organic food also want to buy local food so I am pleased to continue to support farmers to convert to organic farming and to help them satisfy the demands of Welsh consumers.”
One farmer who has already tapped into the OFCS is Ruth Tudor who runs a traditional livestock farm in Monmouthshire. Her farm in now nearing the end of its conversion period.
“Although we don’t expect too much of a premium for our lambs, more efficient use of our resources has meant we have been able to reduce our input costs to practically nothing, and that has helped the business,’’ said Ruth.
“We also expanded our cattle numbers so we could implement a mixed grazing system.’’
Farmers have until November 4th to apply for funding in this year’s scheme.