Roger Kerr OF&G

Roger Kerr

Organic certification body OF&G has said it is “cautiously optimistic” after the sector was recognised in Defra’s Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot scheme.

Organic Farmers & Growers welcomed the launch of the SFI and said the inclusion of organic farming “marks a very positive move by the UK government in their outlook and intent for future agricultural policy”.

Alongside other organisations in the sector, OF&G has tried to help Defra understand the value of ensuring organic land management is integrated in future policy. OF&G chief executive Roger Kerr said their collaborative voices appear to have been heard.

“As a sector, we’ve been striving to highlight the multiple proven benefits and public goods that organic systems simultaneously deliver against the sustainable standards that Defra is seeking to implement,' Kerr said.

“During this period of flux, there’s been a series of announcements from Whitehall that have given us a sense of unease and frustration. With this latest development, there’s some relief and, dare I say it, measured optimism.”

He added: “The policy paper statesthe SFI scheme is ‘intended to reward farmers for delivering environmental benefits across all farming systems,including organic farms.’

“It may only be three small words but after months of work it feels like the value that organic farming can deliver is now beginning to be recognised.”

He stressed that“consistent” levels of support are vital in helping primary producers maintain economic viability and transition to farming systems that deliver multiple public goods, adding that the organic sector can help Defra achieve its ambitionto deliver its 25 Year Environment Plan and carbon net-zero targets.