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- Organic Management & Conversion – Scotland
Organic Conversion & Maintenance - Scotland
Funding for organic in Scotland
The 2023 funding application window for Scotland’s Agri–Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) is now open.
AECS provides funding for farmers and land managers in Scotland to make environmental improvements and will support the Scottish government’s ambition of doubling the amount of land under organic management. The scheme provides a chance for farmers, crofters and land managers in Scotland to convert to and manage their farms to organic standards.
Scottish Ministers have also agreed to deliver future rounds of the fund up to and including 2024, to provide ongoing certainty.
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Financial benefits of organic farming
The Scottish Government has made some strong commitments to doubling the amount of organic agricultural land in Scotland by 2026, and with financial support available for organic conversion and maintenance, there are financial opportunities for farmers to certify and convert to organic.
AECS conversion funding is a five-year agreement and includes increased payments for the first two years, providing a financial boost for farmers through their conversion period.
Soil Association Certification's Scottish licensees reported a massive 36.5% increase in sales in 2021.
Organic offers a valuable model for building future farm resilience. Hear from Sam Parsons at Balcaskie estate about his experience of converting his farm:
The Soil Association 2021, ‘Does it stack up?’ report found that net farm income has continued to increase for organic cropping farms, resulting in a significantly higher figure when compared to non-organic.
Rates on offer for organic conversion and maintenance
Organic maintenance and conversion is no longer capped in AECS from the 2023 application round. Existing organic maintenance contract holders with land on their schedule of works in excess of the previous caps will start to be paid on these areas from the 2024 scheme year.
- AECS conversion agreements are over 5 years and conversion payments will normally be paid for up to 2 years, except for permanent crops such as fruit trees where a 3-year conversion period applies. Subsequent years are paid at the management rate.
- 5-year maintenance agreements are also available for farmers who have already completed organic conversion and will be paid at the maintenance rate for the full 5 years.
Maintenance payments rates per hectare
Maintenance payments provide support to farmers or groups of farmers to use organic farming methods and to encourage the expansion of organic production in Scotland to deliver environmental benefits.
- Arable: Years one to five: £65
- Improved grassland: Years one to five: £55
- Unimproved grassland/rough grazing: Years one to five: £8.50
- Fruit and veg: Years one to five: £200
Conversion payments rates per hectare
- Years one to two: £280
- Years three to five: £65
- Improved grassland:
- Years one to two: £140
- Years three to five: £55
- Umimproved grassland/rough grazing:
- Years one to two: £12.50
- Years three to five: £8.50
- Fruit and veg:
- Years one to two: £400
- Years three to five: £200
2023 key dates
- The application window opens on Monday 30 January 2023
- Application deadline: Wednesday 7 June 2023
How to apply
When applying for AECS funding for organic conversion, there are three key steps you will need to follow:
- You must apply for AECS funding directly with Scottish Government Rural Payments and Services. Please visit their website for further information and a step-by-step guide to applying for AECS.
- As part of your application, you must submit an organic viability proposal endorsed by a UK – approved Organic Certification Body such as Soil Association Certification. Get in touch with our practical and friendly farming team to discuss how we can support you.
- After you have submitted your AECS application and had confirmation that it has been approved by Scottish Government, you can apply to Soil Association Certification and commence conversion of the land/livestock (which must be no earlier than 1st January of the first year of management covered in your AECS application).
Certifying with Soil Association Certification
If you choose to certify with Soil Association Certification, we offer discounted conversion fees to support you through your transition period. Find out more about the steps you can take to prepare your farm for organic conversion and the application process and fees.Why certify with us?
Get in Touch
Our expert farming certification team can talk you through how organic conversion and certification could work on your farm.
Wanting to go organic?
We have a dedicated Scottish Certification Officer based in the Edinburgh office. Receive technical support from a dedicated team who are experts in organic, and your sector. Contact the Scottish Certification team