Vol.6 No.23, 28 June 2006

Organic Farming

Organic farming is creating more jobs, revitalising rural economies and encouraging younger people into agriculture

Land Heritage Newsletter Spring 2006

If organic farming was adopted by all UK farmers, 93,000 extra on-farm jobs would be created.

Results from a comprehensive survey comparing employment on organic farms to that on non-organic farms shows that organic farming is delivering 32% more jobs per farm on average across the UK.

If organic farming, currently practised on 4% of UK farmland, was adopted by all UK farmers, it would produce an additional 93,000 on-farm jobs -16 times more people than were employed by the Rover car company when it closed in April 2005.

The survey results were launched on 15 May in conjunction with the Transport & General Workers Union at the Transport and General Workers Union HQ, London.

The independent research also reveals that organic farmers are:

  • younger -the average age of organic farmers surveyed was 49, seven years younger than their non-organic counterparts, who average 56 years old.

  • more optimistic about the future of farming - 64% expect their family to take on the farm compared to 51 % for non-organic farming,

  • more entrepreneurial - 3 times as many organic farms are involved in direct or local marketing schemes than non-organic farmers.

  • Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director said: 'The implications of this research are not limited to the UK. In the developing world, some 2.5 billion people are still dependent for their livelihoods on agriculture. If they adopt the model of industrial farming, as has been the trend in the developed world, millions will be forced off the land. In contrast, organic farming offers a truly sustainable development path'.

    A websearch revealed that the report was published by the Soil Association. The hard evidence came from a DEFRA-commissioned study by the University of Exeter.

    Centre for Holistic Studies (India) UK network
    New Era Coalition

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