FM MagazineLetters to the EditorNewsUnited Kingdom

Letters: Response to New Collaborative Study Published in the Journal PNAS

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Roger Kerr, chief executive of community interest company Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G), responds to a new study into the effects of pesticides and fertilisers on bird species in the UK.

It is a critical time for the survival of the United Kingdom’s rural ecology. Agricultural intensification and continued reliance on harmful pesticides and fertilisers has been devastating for bird populations.

To address this massive decline within the wider context of biodiversity loss, OF&G advocates a joined up and transformative approach in our farming systems that effectively supports and enhances the natural world. Organic is scientifically proven to deliver benefits by prohibiting the use of synthetic agrochemicals and on average, organic farms host 34% more biodiversity than non-organic farms1.

In a Defra funded Test & Trial the Cholderton Estate showed its organically managed land has at least five times the indicative biodiversity asset value on each hectare compared to the neighbouring non-organic estate, including 137 wild bird species being identified2.

Organic provides a clear and verified solution to delivering against environmental ambitions alongside food production. As such the contribution of UK organic farming must be explicitly recognised within agricultural policy and Government’s Land Use Framework.

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Roger Kerr

Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G)

References

1 https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/farming/organic-farming/organic-action-plan_en

2 https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/11/24/tackling-climate-change-and-extinction-the-farm-thats-showing-the-way/

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