Organic Conversion & Maintenance - Scotland
Funding for organic in Scotland
The 2022 funding application window for Scotland’s Agri–Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) is now closed.
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.
Get the information you need:
The UK organic market is entering its 11th consecutive year of growth and, with financial support available for organic conversion and maintenance, there are financial opportunities for farmers to certify and convert to organic.
AECS 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.
AECS 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.
Organic Conversion and Management Rates (per hectare)
- Conversion Rates Years 1 and 2: £280
- Maintenance Rates up to Year 5: £65
- Improved Grassland:
- Conversion Rates Years 1 and 2: £140
- Maintenance Rates up to Year 5: £55
- Unimproved Grassland/Rough Grazing:
- Conversion Rates Years 1 and 2: £12.50
- Maintenance Rates up to Year 5: £8.50
- Fruit and Vegetables:
- Conversion Rates Years 1 and 2: £400
- Maintenance Rates up to Year 5: £200
Get in touch for more information on application or read on to find out more about financial support.
- The application window opens on Monday 24 January 2022
- Application deadline: Friday 29 April 2022
Agreement start date:
- The agreement will start on 1st January 2023 and will last for five years
When applying for AECS funding for organic conversion and maintenance, there are some key steps you will need to follow:
- You must apply for AECS funding directly with Scottish Government Rural Payments and Services. For conversion funding, please visit Scottish Government Rural Payments and Services 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 your chosen Certification Body to 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).
- Already organic? If you are already organic and looking to apply for maintenance funding, you will need to refer to guidance on the Organic Maintenance page of the Scottish government site.
Apply directly through the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Services:
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?
Our expert farming certification team can talk you through how organic conversion and certification could work on your farm.