A third more farms are converting to organic and the south west continues to have largest percentage of agricultural land in organic.

Data released by Defra last month showed that land going through the two-year conversion period to organic rose by 34 per cent in 2021, compared to the previous year.

UK organic land also rose by 3.6 per cent last year, following a rise of 0.8 per cent in 2020.

The south west continues to have the largest percentage of agricultural land in organic at 8.5 per cent.

Sophie Kirk, business development manager for Soil Association Certification, said: “It is encouraging to see that the latest statistics show confidence in organic farming is on the rise in the UK.

"Our farming sector has dealt with many shocks over the last few years but opportunities for sustainable farming remain strong with rising consumer demand and government support for organic.

“It is clear both government and shoppers are waking up to the benefits organic can deliver for nature and the environment, and these latest figures show that, with the right incentives, nature and climate friendly farming can grow rapidly.”

The rise in organic farming last year is expected to continue in 2022 after the government announced earlier this year that they would pay up to double the previous rates to farmers in England who convert to organic.

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All payments for organic farming are rising by between 50 and 500 per cent for those entering a new scheme with Countryside Stewardship, which is open for applications until July.

Arable farmer Alex Fraser and his brother Rob completed conversion to organic on their 260 acre farm in West Yorkshire last summer.

They are growing spring beans and spring wheat in an intercropping system, and applying the same approach to oats and vetch, as well as growing barley and oats.

He said: “We took our family farm back in hand three years ago when the previous tenancy came to an end and straight away decided to put it into organic conversion.

"It has been a massive learning curve for us but when faced with issues such as climate change, biodiversity losses and the burden of chronic health conditions, it was the perfect time to build a sustainable farming system from scratch.

"We couldn’t really imagine farming in any other way; it just felt like the right thing to do.!

The latest land stats also follow the UK organic market breaking the £3 billion mark for the first time ever in 2021 – growing by 23 per cent from 2019 to 2021, and significantly out-performing non-organic sales.

Kirk added: “Currently more ingredients and products are imported to support the increased demand for organic food. We need robust UK supply chains to support more organic production at home, particularly as our research shows consumers want to buy British.

“The long-term goals that government has set out for agriculture, with a new focus on protecting soils, wildlife and the environment, are in harmony with the principles of organic farming.

"Alongside continued growth in the organic market, this should give any farmer greater confidence to switch to or maintain organic farming practices, despite the short-term uncertainty facing every farm.”