A Letter Template for Your MP
The Soil Association have created an example letter, showing you how you could write to your MP about the Agriculture Bill. You can find out who represents you and send an email at the same time by visiting They Work For You.
Title: Please support organic farming in the Agriculture Bill
Dear [insert name of MP]
I’m writing to ask you to support organic farming in the Agriculture Bill and in other work you may be doing on future food and farming policy.
Organic farming is all about producing food in harmony with nature. Organic standards severely restrict pesticide use and prohibit the use of herbicides and manufactured fertilisers. As a result, organic farming delivers far more farm wildlife, better soil health, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. These are some of the key ‘public goods’ that the government wants to pay farmers to provide.
Organic farming delivers these environmental benefits at the same time as producing high quality food and sustaining jobs and rural livelihoods. Nurturing the organic sector should be a top priority for the UK’s new agricultural policy.
Scientific evidence of the environmental benefits provided by organic farming is strong. For example:
Organic farms have on average 50% more wildlife than conventional farms
Organic farms have healthier soils with, on average, 44% higher levels of humic acid - the component of soil that stores carbon over the long term.
Organic farming can help tackle water pollution - with 35-65% less nitrogen and no persistent pesticides leached from organic arable fields.
When it comes to animal welfare, organic livestock standards go beyond free range and cover living conditions, feed quality, transport and slaughter. Organic farming prohibits the routine use of antibiotics, whilst optimising animal health and welfare to prevent disease.
Moving to organic farming is an opportunity for UK farmers too. Consumer demand for organic food is increasing steadily, globally and in Britain. The UK organic market is now worth more than ever at £2.2 billion, growing 6% in 2017. Meeting more of the UK organic demand with UK supply would be good news for soil health, wildlife and farmers alike.
If UK farmers, consumers and the environment are to benefit from what organic farming offers, government needs to get behind the expansion of the organic sector. That should include:
A commitment to support and expand organic farming as part of the Agriculture Bill – with a goal to reach at least 10% of UK farmland over the next 10 years.
New ‘Organic Public Goods Payments’ for organic farming at the heart of the new Environmental Land Management scheme - alongside generous support to help more farmers through organic conversion.
Ensuring agricultural colleges integrate organic and agroecological farming into mainstream training, alongside bespoke organic courses and new organic apprenticeships.
The UK should aim to get to the top of the European league table of organic food and farming, rather than languishing close to the bottom. This would benefit nature and wildlife, improve animal welfare, and help farm businesses to innovate and thrive.
I hope you agree that organic farming should be better supported and that you will make a strong case for this in debates on the Agriculture Bill and directly to ministers. Thank you for taking the time to consider my views and I look forward to hearing from you.
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