Thursday, 10 September 2009

Organic farming conversion scheme opening soon

Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, has announced arrangements for the opening of the Organic Farming Conversion Scheme. These will provide an opportunity for farmers to apply to join between 15 September 2009 and 30 September 2009.

The scheme offers support for organic conversion over a 2 year period, provided for under the Rural Development Programme for Wales 2007 - 2013. Funding for this round is limited to £700,000.

Applications, which must include an organic conversion plan, will be prioritised in the following order:

  • Applications for the conversion of land used for arable production in 2009, as declared on the 2009 Single Application Form (SAF).
  • Existing organic scheme agreement holders wishing to bring in additional land for conversion (Smallest area applications first, subject to meeting the minimum eligible area requirements)
  • Those applicants who made expressions of interest in March 2009, including those rejected. (Smallest area applications first, subject to meeting the minimum eligible area requirements)

It should be noted that converting to organic farming without an offer of support from the Welsh Assembly Government is a business decision; it does not guarantee an offer of financial support.

In line with the requirements of Glastir, the new land management scheme for Wales, the minimum eligible area to be entered into the scheme is 3 hectares. Applicants must have commenced organic conversion in their field parcels on or after 15 July 2009 and no later than 1 January 2010.

The Minister said:

"I have taken this action in order to provide continued delivery of environmental outcomes and ongoing support for organic farming whilst ensuring a smooth transition into Glastir for those who wish to join.

"The prioritisation categories I have decided upon are in line with the aims of the Second Organic Action Plan for Wales to support the sustainable development of the organic markets, and to maintain an appropriate balance between sectors. It also ensures that the Welsh Assembly Government prioritises applications which will provide the highest biodiversity gains; this is in line with the CAP Health Check Agenda which requires concerted actions from land managers to contribute towards achieving objectives, such as biodiversity management."

Exact details of the application process and up-to-date scheme information will be:

  • published on the Organic Farming Scheme page of the Welsh Assembly Government internet site shortly, and;
  • available or from Divisional Offices and the Organic Centre Wales.


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