WITH more and more conventional farmers switching - or thinking of switching - to organic production methods, a series of organic farm walks will be staged in Yorkshire next month to outline the benefits, and the problems, of making the change.
Encouraging farmers towrds an organic future
Sales of organic foods are rising like a rocket - up some 70% in the past two years - and organic-approved produce can earn premium prices but much of it is imported. This means that British producers are missing out on a multi-billion-pound market.
A Government-backed initiative called the Organic Entry Level Scheme, (OELS) introduced last year with grants made available to people making the switch, has just signed up its 1,000th member, bringing an estimated 200,000 extra acres into organic production.
To keep pace with the trend, a series of farm walks for people interested in the movement has been organised by the agricultural diversification body ADAS, the Rural Development Service and the Yorkshire Organic Service based at Skipton Auction Mart.
"These walks will focus on OELS and demonstrate how the various options can increase farm income, enhance the environment and encourage expansion of the organic sector in England to meet the increasing demand for organically produced food," advises Chris Huxley, regional co-ordinator for ADAS in the Yorkshire.
The first farm walk takes place on Monday 5 June at Raywell, near Cottingham. This farm has cattle, sheep, finishing pig and arable enterprises. Later the same week there is an invitation to visit a farm at Kirkby Fleetham, near Northallerton on Thursday 8 June which has cattle, sheep and turkeys along with an arable enterprise. The final farm walk on Friday 9 June invites farmers to a farm at Bishop Wilton near York which has cattle and sheep associated with arable cropping and includes organic milling wheat and potatoes.
- Further farm walks and events are being planned for later in the year. To register your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the event hotline on 01954 268301.