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Organic food and farming at the Royal Welsh Show

The Organic Food and Farming marquee at the Royal Welsh Show this year will be offering producers and consumers a wide range of services and information.

Organic Centre Wales will be offering technical tips as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme, exploring ways of reducing chemical use on crops by using a range of organic management techniques. This will include pest and weed management, building fertility with legumes and maintaining a good soil structure and it will be of interest to all farmers, organic and conventional.

he Grassland Development Centre stand will include a Clover Clinic where farmers can find out more about how to make the best of clover. Clover can save up to 200 kg/ha of soluble N fertiliser annually and provide a good source of forage protein so it's well worth conventional and organic farmers taking advantage of this 'free nitrogen' in their livestock systems.

Information about organic conversion will be provided by the Organic Conversion Information Service staff. The service includes an information pack and up to three on-farm visits.

Representatives from the three main certification organizations active in Wales – the Soil Association Certification Limited, Organic Farmers and Growers and Quality Welsh Food Certification – will be offering advice and information, and two producer groups, Graig Producers and Welsh Black Cattle Organic Club, will have members there to talk about what they can offer.

There are now over 1000 organic producers in Wales, and organically managed land in Wales extends to over 100,000 ha, around 8% of Welsh agricultural land, the majority being grassland. Horticultural and arable production cropped land areas are still small, although accounting for a relatively high proportion of total Welsh land use of this type.

Sue Fowler, Director of Organic Centre Wales, said: “Organic farming is now well established in Wales, but we need to grow the markets. We are very pleased that we have secured funding to embark on a new project, Better Organic Business Links, to support the sector. We are keen to hear from from anyone who would like to take part – come and talk to us at the Show, or contact OCW.”

Better Organic Business Links is a Supply Chain Efficiency project which has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The organic marquee is located in the Countryside Care area of the site.

Ends

More information

Sue Fowler, Director, Organic Centre Wales, Aberystwyth University. Tel. 01970 622248, e-mail smf@aber.ac.uk.

Carolyn Wacher, Organic Centre Wales, Aberystwyth University. Tel. 01970 621852, e-mail ccw@aber.ac.uk

Notes for the editor

1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of the ADAS, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University.

2. Farming Connect, working closely with its partner organisations, provides one to one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to the needs of farmers in Wales. Many of these services are fully funded or subsidised and the service is both flexible and accessible. You can register with the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or contact Farming Connect directly at your nearest WAG Divisional Office. OCW is funded by Farming Connect to deliver the Organic Development Programme.

3. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by WAG to provide information to producers considering conversion – an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.

4. Better Organic Business Links is a Supply Chain Efficiency project which has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

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