EU grants organic farmers flexibility in feed

Proposed changes to sourcing of organic feed, which would have mandated pig and poultry producers to grow 40% of their feed on-farm, have been amended to allow producers to source feed without geographical restrictions.

Members of the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Organic Farming decided to allow the greater flexibility to the impending legislation during a meeting on 27-28 September.

“The NFU has always been against these proposals as we knew they would have had a detrimental effect on the organic poultry sector, so we are delighted that the commission has seen sense to make these essential changes,” said Martin Humphrey, NFU poultry board member and organic feed representative, who went to Brussels as part of an NFU delegation to lobby decision-makers.

“However, we are still concerned over proposed changes to the composition of organic feeds for mono-gastric animals and the timescales involved in the implementation of the changes to legislation. It is essential that any changes to organic feed do not jeopardise the welfare standards of organic poultry.”

The EU Commission is also seeking to introduce a requirement at the end of the year whereby 100% of feed in the ration has to be organic, compared with a current threshold of 95%.