The Scottish government has launched a new scheme offering funding for organic conversion and maintenance to farmers.
The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) promotes land management practices “which protect and enhance Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change”.
It also helps improve public access and preserve historic sites. According to the Scottish government, the funding will help to:
- Support organic farming
- Deliver the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy by supporting appropriate management for vulnerable and iconic species and habitats, strengthening ecological networks, controlling invasive non-native species and enhancing the condition of protected nature sites
- Contribute to Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and securing carbon stores in peatlands and other organic soils
- Meet obligations to improve water quality under the Scotland River Basin Management Plan by reducing diffuse pollution
- Control flooding through natural flood risk management
- Preserve the historic environment
- Improve public access
The scheme, which opened on 25 January and will close on 21 June 2021, is delivered jointly by the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) of the Scottish Government and NatureScot (formerly SNH).
Aoife Behan, director of Soil Association Scotland, said: “We welcome Scottish Government’s commitment to nature-friendly farming through continued support for organic in the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme 2021.
“Support for organic farming is vital to the green recovery we need to deliver on Scotland’s rightly ambitious climate and environmental targets. For secure and sustainable food production we must invest in farming systems that deliver for climate, nature and health.”