Organic Management & Conversion – Wales
Funding for organic in Wales
The 2022 application window for organic conversion funding from Rural Payment Wales is now closed.
The funding comes as part of a raft of measures to improve the resilience of the rural economy and natural environment.
Get to the information you need:
The Organic Conversion Scheme is an area-based support scheme available to existing agriculture producers across Wales who wish to convert from conventional to organic production.
The funding will inform the forthcoming Sustainable Farming Scheme, which is being developed to protect farmers and land managers, for the work they do to protect nature and the rural economy.
By supporting farmers during a two-year conversion period, this five-year scheme aims to provide support to deliver positive environmental land management benefits.
The UK organic market has seen ten years of consecutive growth. And with funding available for organic production, there are opportunities for farmers to certify and convert to organic.
The Soil Association 2021, ‘Does it stack up?’ report found that net farm income is typically higher on most organic farm types when compared to non-organic due to reduced input costs and enhanced financial support.
The Organic Conversion Scheme is a five-year agreement and organic conversion funding includes payments for the first two years, providing a financial boost for farmers through their conversion period.
We recommend organic farmers to consider their routes-to-market when planning to convert their farm to organic.
The Organic Conversion Scheme is a five-year contract, which will provide support for conversion of eligible land to organic production and towards the cost of certification in the first two years of the contract only.
All land that is entered into an Organic Conversion Scheme contract must be continuously certified for the full duration of the contract, commencing 1 January 2023 by a certification body such as Soil Association Certification.
Payment rates will be based on land use as submitted on your Single Application Form 2022.
- Rotational land: £202/ha
- Permanent crops / grassland: £101/ha
- Permanent and temporary grassland with a dairy enterprise: £345/ha
- Unenclosed land: £12.60/ha
A contribution towards certification costs of £500 per year for the two-year conversion period will be provided. Applicants who already have organic certification but are applying to bring additional land into organic production will not be eligible for the £500 certification costs contribution.
There is no upper limit to the area of land that can be submitted for the Organic Conversion Scheme.
The maximum payment will be capped according to the following:
- 0 - 200 ha of eligible land: 100% of the payment rate
- 200 – 400 ha of eligible land: 50% of payment rate
- 400 ha+: 10% of payment rate
Farm businesses are selected for the Organic Conversion Scheme following the submission of an Expression of Interest (EoI) to the Welsh Government.
The EoI is scored on its ability to contribute towards delivering the aims of the Organic Conversion Scheme. Those with the ability to deliver the most towards the objectives of the Scheme are scored highest.
You are eligible to apply if:
- You are registered with the Welsh Government and have been issued with a Customer Reference Number (CRN). Please refer to the Welsh Government website for the how to register guidance or call the RPW Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004.
- You are a primary producer of agricultural products
- You have 3ha of eligible agricultural land registered with RPW in Wales or
- You can demonstrate over 550 standard labour hours
The application process for the Organic Conversion scheme is in two stages:
- Farm businesses are selected for the Organic Conversion Scheme following the submission of an Expression of Interest (EoI) to Rural Payments Online. The EoI is scored on its ability to contribute towards delivering the aims of the Organic Conversion Scheme. Those with the ability to deliver the most towards the objectives of the Scheme are scored highest.
- Following closure of the EoI window a selection process will be completed. If you are selected, a contract offer will be made to you via your RPW Online account which you must accept within 30 days.
Once you have accepted the offer, you need to register your land with an organic certification body, such as Soil Association Certification commencing 1st January 2023.
The most recent OCB Certificate and Land schedules must be submitted by 31st December 2023.
The Welsh Government announced in July 2023 that existing Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic contracts will not be extended beyond 31st December 2023. A 12-month interim scheme will operate in 2024, with a proposed focus on habitats. The scheme will be available to all eligible farmers and an application window is expected to open in September 2023. Subject to budget availability, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will continue to be provided in 2024 with a provisional allocation of £238m as per 2023.
The intention is that the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) will begin in April 2025, with the scheme primarily designed to address climate change and biodiversity loss by encouraging sustainable food production. Welsh Government will open a further Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation towards the end of 2023 before final decisions on the scheme are made.
Soil Association Certification is part of the Welsh Organic Forum which is working with Welsh Government with the intention of securing reward and recognition for the public goods organic farms provide as part of the co-design of the Sustainable Farming Scheme. The Forum is campaigning for support for organic farming to be included in the interim scheme in 2024 to avoid a cliff-edge in funding. It sent an open letter to the First Minister Mark Drakeford calling for urgent dialogue and warning of the serious environmental and economic consequences arising from a withdrawal of support for organic farming.
Funding for this year is now closed but if you are still interested in converting your farm please get in touch.
Our expert farming certification team can talk you through how organic conversion and certification could work on your farm.