As of September 1st, Low Sizergh Farm will be fully reconverted to organic standards. This means our raw milk will be organic raw milk and our family dairy farm will be an organic family dairy farm.
We originally moved away from organic in 2010 because the market was oversaturated and the price of organic milk didn’t account for the cost of producing it. Now, the market is much healthier so we have been in conversion back to organic over the last two years. In celebration of Organic September, we want to share our journey back to organic with you…
There’s a real demand for ethical, sustainable food that consumers know has been farmed, produced and retailed at the highest standards. The move back to organic is also a good fit with farmer Richard’s holistic approach to farming. Holistic farm management is primarily about nature-friendly farming. The reconversion to organic fits in very well with our overall plan to increase species diversity and improve soil health across the farm.
We’d already experimented with not using artificial fertilisers on certain fields and were impressed with the effect it had on plant diversity. We are confident that the organic investment here at Low Sizergh Farm will pay off, both for the business and the land itself. There are many benefits of organic farming in itself – the organic market is continuing to grow as more people are demanding sustainable food. Making investments is a part of what we do as farmers, and this is like any other investment – a short-term cost for a long-term gain.
In addition to the financial benefit, the farm’s conversion to organic will have environmental benefits. Organic farming challenges the way farmers interact with the land and livestock. A big part of the conversion process has been ending the use of artificial fertilisers and finding alternatives to artificial herbicides. We’ve introduced clover to the fields, which provides the soil with vital nitrogen without the need for chemicals. We’re expecting to see the full benefits in about four to five years, but we’ve already noticed an improvement in grassland diversity.
The reconversion to organic is also good news for our farm shop, which sells ice cream and cheeses made from our milk, and bottles of fresh raw milk from our vending machine. The raw milk and cheese will be certified organic from September 1st, as well as the fruit from our three orchards.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, both now and in the future. For now, we’re mainly focusing on getting the system fully up and running. On the practical side of things, that means we’re looking at how to improve the ways we make use of slurry and manure.