Support for Farmers & Growers during Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the UK remains on lockdown, farmers and growers are continuing to work hard to ensure the nation is fed.
The crisis has caused significant disruption and we are listening to organic farmers and working with Government to tackle the various challenges.
Below are some resources to support farmers and growers:
Support for Soil Association Certification farming licensees
Soil Association Certification is committed to helping all organic producers at this difficult time. The following support is being provided:
- Arranging inspections through self assessments and remote audits
- Approving derogations (an exemption from or relaxation of a rule) to support specific farming sectors affected by Covid 19
- Freezing annual fee increases
Sell direct or through independent retailers
Here are some new and creative ways you can sell your produce to meet new and growing demand:
- List your box scheme: If you run a box scheme that is certified by Soil Association, make sure to list it for free on our website.
- List your farm shop: If you sell organic products through a farm shop or independent retailer, list it for free on our independent retail finder.
- Collaborate with other businesses: If you are a producer with surplus produce and looking for businesses to collaborate with, search for organic box schemes and Independent Retailers in your area.
List your box schemeFind out more
Routes to market
There are a number of networks connecting farmers directly with customers:
- Open Food Network have many existing hubs across the country and are looking to set more up. Have a look at their map to see if there is a hub near your business.
They are also offering marketing and logistical support for farmers to help shift food businesses online as quickly as possible.
- Better Food Traders has created a network of food retailers that are good for the planet and people. Find local traders that could stock your products or get in touch with them to add you to their list.
- The Organic Growers Alliance are organising a mutual support network during the crisis and have put together a list of other online retailers you could approach with your produce.
Post your farm job vacancies
If you have a shortage of seasonal labour, there are a number of organisations connecting willing workers with their local farms:
- Post your job vacancies for free on our Organic Marketplace.
- Pick for Britain is a joint Defra and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill has been launched.
- Sustain has put together a useful list of organisations you can use to post vacancies.
- Recruitment agency, JP Trett, has offered free assistance to farmers and growers looking for temporary labour or to people looking for work on a temporary basis. Contact the producer support team for more details on this offer.
Post jobs and other ads on our organic marketplace.Place an ad
NFU collating business critical impact to farmers
The National Farmers’ Union is providing an information gathering service on behalf of the agricultural and horticultural industries across the UK to assist the government in building a dynamic and up-to-date picture of the impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is having on farmers and growers.
Push for more government support
Land Workers' Alliance have sent a letter to Government calling for an emergency package of support to protect our local food supply.
Add your name to the petition to show your support and put pressure on Government.
The dairy association, RABDF, has recently submitted a request to Government to help fund a short-term financial support scheme for dairy farmers whose businesses have been severely affected as a result of Coronavirus and to avert a larger crisis in the industry.
DEFRA have introduced funding to support dairy farmers through coronavirus. Those who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months, and are entitled to up to £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports viable small and medium-sized businesses experiencing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme helps all viable UK-based businesses, including farming businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment (BIP) to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. Extensions to the scheme mean that all viable small businesses affected by Coronavirus, not just those businesses unable to secure regular commercial financing will now be eligible to take part in the scheme. For further information visit GOV.UK or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme is offering small unsecured loans from £5,000 to £20,000 to help farm business during the COVID-19 crisis. These loans come with a 3-month capital and interest holiday, followed by 12-month capital holiday. The interest rate is 5% and terms range from 5 years and 3 months.
Land Workers' Alliance are also fundraising for a solidarity pot to support smaller-scale farmers through financial hardship.
Other changes due to COVID-19
Statutory TB testing can continue subject to vets and farmers being able to maintain social distancing. If you have a test coming up in the medium term, it is recommended that you contact your vet to confirm arrangements.
Breeding livestock sales have been restarted at some livestock markets so long as social distancing is respected. If you have breeding livestock you wish to sell at livestock markets, contact them first.
Farmer and grower helpline
The producer support team at Soil Association helps farmers and growers transition towards agroecological and organic farming practices. In this time of crisis, we want to support the growing movement of nature friendly farmers out there.
Contact us for advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) related problems to your business.
Phone: 0117 314 5100
Please note if you have a certification enquiry it is best to contact your certification officer.