Organic Conversion & Maintenance - Scotland
The Agri – Environment Climate Scheme is open for organic applications.
Scotland’s Agri – Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) provides funding for farmers and land managers in Scotland to make environmental improvements. Scottish Government is opening a round for new applications from 25th January – 30th June 2021 which includes financial support for farmers to convert to and manage their farms to organic standards.
The financial benefits of organic conversion
The UK organic market is entering its tenth 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.
AEC’s funding includes increased payments for the first 2 years of the agreement, providing a financial boost for farmers through their conversion period. The Soil Association Organic Farm Income Report shows that net farm income is often higher on organic farms than non-organic farms due to lower costs of production and higher environmental support payments.
Soil Association Certification's Scottish licensees reported a massive 24% increase in sales in 2020.
Rates on offer for organic conversion and maintenance
AEC’s 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)
|Rates Per Hectare||Conversion Rates Years 1 and 2||Maintenance Rates up to Year 5|
|Unimproved Grassland/Rough Grazing||£12.50||£8.50|
|Fruit and Vegetables||£400||£200|
2021 key dates
- The application window opens on 25th January 2021 and closes on 30th June 2021.
- The agreement will start on 1st January 2022 and last for 5 years.
How to apply
When applying for AECS funding for organic conversion and maintenance, there are two key steps you will need to follow:
- You must apply for AEC’s 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 expert farming team to discuss how we can support you. After you have submitted your AECS application you can apply to your chosen Certification Body to convert the land/ livestock and who will approve your conversion plan and conversion start date. The conversion start date must be no earlier than 1st January of the first year of management covered in your application.
Certifying with the Soil Association Certification
If you chose 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.Get in touch