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This free monthly email service is designed to keep farmers, growers, consultants and vets up-to-date with sector news, as well as relevant new services, literature and training available from the Soil Association.



Save our soils! New report outlines 7 ways farmers and the Government can help rebuild British soil and protect UK farming industry

05 February 2016

The Soil Association is releasing a new document calling on policy makers and farmers to do their bit to protect UK soils. In 2014 researchers estimated that the country will only see 100 more harvests if soil loss and degradation continues at its c...

Soil Association launches new aquaculture standards

01 February 2016

Today, 1 February 2016, the Soil Association launches its new updated standards for organic aquaculture and seaweed, the first to be released from a wider standards review. These standards feature higher requirements than EU regulation in certain ar...

Scotland launches new organic action plan

27 January 2016

Today the Scottish Organic Forum launched Organic Ambitions, the new organic action plan for Scotland.

Changes to the handling of producer permission requests

20 January 2016

Over the past few months we have been required by Defra to introduce some changes to the way we process requests: to bring in up to 40% non-organic breeding females, bring in non-organic poultry, the renewal or reconstitution of a herd or flock and,...

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Statements – Important Information

18 January 2016

Farmers in England and Wales need to check their Basic Payment Scheme Statements carefully when they receive them.

Coping with extreme weather

06 January 2016

Following the wettest December in 100 years, it could be a good time to review the way water is managed on your land, and consider any additional measures you could implement to help your land become more resilient against weather extremes.

Soil Association launches BOOM (Best of Organic Market) Awards

01 January 2016

The Soil Association has launched the new BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market) celebrating great taste, exceptional quality, innovation and creativity in organic products and places to eat. Anna Jones, celebrity chef, cookery writer and a graduate o...

Soil farmer of the year competition launched

22 December 2015

Are you passionate about looking after your soil for future generations? You could be UK Soil Farmer of the Year.

Organic Options in Countryside Stewardship

02 December 2015

Don't miss Natural England's rotational land and horticulture payments deadline of December 15th.

Soil Association launches food and drink standards consultation

01 December 2015

The Soil Association is consulting on proposed changes to its organic food and drink standards which cover food and drink manufacturing, packaging and labelling. Everyone with an interest in these areas is encouraged to take part in the public consu...
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Latest blogs

What is healthy soil and how do I know if I've got it?

Ben Raskin: If you have ever done any gardening or farming you will have a sense of what a good soil structure is, or perhaps an understanding of a fertile soil, but what do we really mean when we talk about soil HEALTH. Even the professionals don't have a single definition though this one from the FAO is pretty good: "the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, promote the quality of air and water environments, and maintain plant, animal, and human health".

26 January 2016 | 5 Comments | Recommended by 1

Better Jobs for Better Farming - thoughts from the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Ben Raskin: One of the themes running through the conference this year was the theme of livelihoods in farming. In particular, can smaller agro-ecological farmers compete fairly in a global market, and if not then how can we expect to attract new entrants to ensure we have a vibrant, skillful and knowledgeable farming community to cope with the climatic challenges of the next century?

12 January 2016 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 3

Overuse of antibiotics in farming could threaten us all, but there is another way

Helen Browning: As the evidence mounts as to the madness of using last resort antibiotics like colistin to treat our farm animals, often via mass medication, the intensive farm and vet lobby still seems defensive and complacent. I guess it’s easy to understand why. Routine antibiotics are usually required in indoor, concrete based systems, where large numbers of animals are kept together, often stressed by their confinement. These are the systems deemed necessary for ‘efficient’ protein production, to feed us cheaply with watery bacon and tasteless chicken breasts. Vets are too often complicit; they still rely heavily on drug sales to maintain their profitability. There is another way, of course, one that has been pioneered by organic farmers over decades.

22 December 2015 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 0