What is Organic Certification?
What is organic farming certification?
If you are a farmer or grower and you want to sell products as organic you must hold a legal certificate of registration from an approved organic certification body like Soil Association Certification. This is because organic food and farming is defined by law, and set out in EU regulations, so any product sold as ‘organic’ in the UK must comply with a set of production and processing standards.
We help you to navigate the requirements of organic certification and provide you with an organic license to sell your products with the right to use the Soil Association Organic Symbol.
The following operations are subject to the certification process:
- On-farm production
- Processing involving food storage, packing and storage, including on-farm processing
- Animal feeds production
- Re-labelling of products at any stage of the distribution chain
- Organic products imported from countries outside the European Union, known as third countries
We certify all farm sizes from direct sales horticulture to livestock and largescale arable.
Hear from two of our organic licensees, Hemsworth Farm and RB Organic about their decision to go organic and certify with Soil Association Certification:
Principles of Organic Farming
Organic farming is a modern approach to crop and livestock production based on ecological principles, working with natural systems to produce sustainable food, fibre and other public goods.
Organic farming is defined by EU law. Organic farms are inspected every year to ensure they comply with organic standards. A list of principles and rules known as ‘organic standards’ guide organic farmers and growers on what they can and cannot do, with the aim of delivering the highest levels of animal welfare, protecting human and animal health, and safeguarding the environment.
I haven’t yet met a farmer that regrets their decision to farm organically...it’s often a leap of faith, but once you’ve started farming organically the satisfaction is worth a lotSophie Alexander, Hemsworth Farm
Rather than relying on chemical inputs, organic farmers and growers adopt management practices that build and enhance natural soil fertility with the application of organic matter, green manures and long-term crop rotations, and controlling weeds, pests and diseases through mechanical weeding, variety choice and by encouraging natural predators.
Livestock play an important role on most organic farms, although stockless management is possible. Our organic standards address all aspects of livestock management, including stocking and housing requirements, feed and veterinary medicines, as well as transport and slaughter.
Organic farming provides a range of environmental benefits, such as improved natural soil health and fertility, increasing carbon storage in soil and more wildlife and biodiversity; organic farms have up to 50% more wildlife abundance on average.
Business Benefits of Organic Farming
Converting to organic farming is a complex business decision, that requires careful consideration and planning. However, with strong growth in the organic market, the Government voicing their commitment to prioritise the environment and soil health in the Agricultural Bill and public interest in sustainable farming on the rise, there are huge opportunities for farmers looking to meet growing consumer trends for British sustainable food and drink.
Organic farming often results in significantly lower input costs and, in some cases, higher prices for products. In addition, organic farmers can be eligible for financial support, depending on what country they are based in, helping to improve farm resilience and farm profitability.
Funding Support for Farmers
Financial support is available for organic conversion and maintenance depending on which country of the UK you are based in. Read more information on funding opportunities and application windows here.
There’s a premium in the market place so financially, if you can make the rotation work, there is a real business case for organic farmingJoe Rolfe, RB Organics