CAP payment boost for organic farmers

Organic producers in England are set to receive higher payments for farming organically under the new CAP regime.

Defra announced that payments to farmers who convert to organic production will be cut when the new rural development payment programme begins in January 2016.

See also: Organic farming growing in popularity across Europe

However, under the Countryside Stewardship programme maintenance payments to organic farmers would in some cases more than triple, Defra said.

Under the programme, which was approved by the EU Commission this week, farmers will receive £175/ha for converting rotational land, down from £478/ha in the current regime.

But those same farmers will receive a maintenance payment of £70/ha, up from £18/ha in the current regime.

Those with improved permanent pasture will receive £75/ha for converting – down from £156/ha – but will receive £40/ha – up from £17/ha.

Roger Kerr, chief executive of licensing body Organic Farmers & Growers, said the payments were a positive outcome for the organic sector.

Defra’s initial plan to have high conversion rates and low maintenance payments would have unbalanced existing organic producers and risked encouraging people to convert to organic to make money before leaving at the earliest opportunity, he said.

“The payment rates aren’t huge, but considering the amount of cost-cutting the UK government is facing it is a good result, he added.

“It has been clear for some years that across the EU the organic sector is continuing to grow throughout the recession.

“Now we are also seeing growth in the UK again it is important our government also supports British organic farmers.”

Payments under the Countryside Stewardship programme
  Conversion £/ha Maintenance £/ha
Rotational land 175 (was 220 year one) 70 (was 60)
Improved permanent pasture 75 (was 105 year one) 40 (was 50)
Unimproved permanent pasture 50 (was 5) 20 (was 5)
 Horticulture  400 (was 300 year one) 200 (was 76)
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