Organic poultry producers win greater flexibility

PROPOSED regulation changes which would have had a devastating effect for organic poultry farmers have been averted, following extensive lobbying by the NFU and the organic sector.

The European Commission had intended to force the organic poultry industry to grow 40 per cent of mono-gastric and 70 per cent of herbivore feed ingredients on farm, which the NFU believes would have placed an unnecessary burden particularly on the organic poultry industry.

But members of the Commission’s Standing Committee on Organic Farming have now decided, following lobbying by the NFU and other industry representatives, to allow greater flexibility for producers.

The changes mean that farmers will be able to source feed without geographical restrictions.

Martin Humphrey, NFU poultry board and organic feed representative, said: “We are delighted that the Commission had seen sense to make these essential changes.”

“However, we are still concerned over proposed changes to the composition of organic feeds for mono-gastric animals and the timescales involved in the implementation of the changes to legislation. It is essential that any changes to organic feed do not jeopardise the welfare standards of organic poultry.”

The NFU had previously organised for a group of representatives from across the organic poultry sector to meet with key stakeholder organisations and the Head of Unit for organic farming at the Commission to discuss the proposals.