A significant issue for many producers in the new Glastir Organic scheme is the requirement for business plans to be submitted by the end of 2015.
The Glastir Organic rules booklet specified that as a minimum, the plan will contain: an organic farming system plan, including livestock numbers and cropping; a livestock herd/flock health plan; a manure management plan; a crop rotation plan; a crop pest and disease control plan; and a future developments plan. Much of this is in line with the information that needs to be provided to certifiers in any case, and the principle is that the plan should be helpful to producers in doing this. However, it is not yet clear, partly due to the ongoing review of Farming Connect, what further financial/business planning components will be required, how the plans will be delivered and what support will be available for the process. There is also a need to ensure that for many established organic businesses, the plan is useful to producers and addresses specific needs rather than general organic management issues more relevant to a conversion plan. There is an ongoing process of discussion between now and end December to try to resolve this, with a workshop planned with key stakeholders in mid November. If you would like to contribute to these discussions, please contact the
(01970 621000) and/or
. We anticipate (but can't guarantee!) that guidelines and support for the new format plans will be available from spring 2015 giving about nine months for all producers registered with Glastir Organic to comply.
In the meantime, particularly if you are considering joining the Glastir Organic scheme as a new converter, you might want to take advantage of the existing Farming Connect 80%-funded whole farm plan support – plans will need to be drawn up by the end of February, but could be done sooner, and should include the elements specified in the Glastir Organic Rules Booklet. In the absence of further guidance on what should be delivered, you should seek guidance from your certification body on what they would like to see and at least make sure your plan covers those components. Resources such as the Organic Farm Management Handbook and publications from Organic Centre Wales and Farming Connect may also be helpful.
We will keep you updated as further information on this topic becomes available.