Organic derogation extension avoids ‘severe consequences’ for pork and poultry producers

The news that two derogations for organic pigs and poultry have been extended has been welcomed by industry bodies, although the long-term future is still uncertain. 

As a result of tight supplies of organic proteins, the extension gives farmers the freedom to continue feeding pigs and poultry up to 5% non-organic proteins. 

The extension, which came after calls were made to the European Commission, will last for an additional 12 months. 

“This is a great result for organic pig producers and one that will ensure organic production can continue for the time being,” commented National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies.

“However, we will need to seek a more comprehensive and longer-term agreement shortly to avoid this situation recurring in 12 months’ time.”

As a subsequent effect of the derogation, farmers are able to buy in pullets – a young hen – up to 18 weeks old where organically-reared pullets are unavailable, so long as they have been farmed under the organic feed and veterinary standard.

“It is incredibly important for the organic pig and poultry industry that these derogations were extended, to provide certainty to producers,” added National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Minette Batters.

“The NFU, along with the industry, called for these derogations to be extended and it is fantastic news that the European Commission has listened to our concerns.

“A failure to extend would not only have meant severe consequences to the organic sector, such as being unable to source the right nutrition, but could have also resulted in major welfare concerns.

“While the extension does provide short-term certainty for producers, the long-term future of the industry is still up in the air.

“The NFU will continue to work with Defra, the European Commission and the UK organic industry to further understand the long-term future, particularly regarding incoming organic EU regulation, which does not allow producers to buy in pullets up to 18 weeks old.” 

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