Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) has published a technical guide outlining how the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) payments can be combined to deliver increased payments of up to 50 per cent to organic farmers when compared to historic BPS rates.

The chief executive officer of the organic certification body, Roger Kerr, believes it is vital to promote the ‘easy win' financial benefits highlighted in the new technical leaflet, which has been prepared by William Waterfield of the Farm Consultancy Group.

"The outcomes of this independent research reflect the high environmental status of organic and demonstrate how existing organic licensees can capitalise on the opportunities available to them by stacking SFI payments on top of existing CS agreements," said Mr Kerr.

The Northern Farmer: Take advantage of ‘easy wins,’ organic farmers advised

"The data presents a robust argument to farmers considering converting to organic to take that positive step and full advantage of the new schemes."

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The study is calculated on two farm case studies (one predominantly arable, the other mostly livestock) of 210 hectares, the average size of organic farms certified by OF&G.

The Northern Farmer: Roger Kerr chief executive officer at OFG

The technical leaflet shows the income comparison between old BPS and the combined CS and SFI payments. It reveals an increase from £48,510 to £68,671 for the livestock farm. On the arable farm rates would rise even more, from £48,510 to £73,061, which equates to a 50.6 per cent increase.

OF&G anticipates a significant divergence overall in the way English farms are managed following the roll out of Defra's environmentally-driven policies.

"There'll be many farmers both organic and non-organic who will wholeheartedly embrace the new schemes and their approach, while others will reject the environmental principles and go all out for increased yield by foregoing the schemes," added Mr Kerr.

"Opting for the second route of increasingly intensive farming practices, which may produce higher yields in the short-term, will come at a huge environmental and societal cost and undermine the very basis of production and long-term food security.

"We must build back resilience in our farming systems and embrace the transformational change this policy seeks to encourage," says Mr Kerr.

The technical leaflet can be downloaded from the website at