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What is organic farming?

Cows at Kingsclere Estates

We can all picture what a farm looks like. Quite often, the idyllic scene we conjure up of farm life isn’t representative of modern farming in this country. Many farms are huge fields of the same crop, lots of pesticides and animals kept indoors throughout the year. Well, that’s not what Kingsclere Estates looks like. Our farm is organic. What does that mean in practise? Well, it means that we have to comply with strict EU regulations to maximise the health of the animals, ecosystems, soil and people on the farm.

We don’t rely on pesticides and fertilisers to maintain our crops and animals. Instead, we find a natural balance using planting and animals. We use wildlife and companion planting to control pests, crop rotation and grazing animal to improve the soil, removing the need for artificial pesticides and nitrates. And if you don’t want to take our word for it, we’re inspected by the OF&G once a year, just to make sure we stay on track!

That all sounds great for the soil and plants but what about the animals? Well, it’s great for them too! Our animals are truly free-range! To meet the organic standards, the animals must be able to move around and express normal behaviours. If you’ve ever passed through Kingsclere Estates (perhaps on the A339) you’ll have seen the chickens or cows freely wandering through the fields. We love seeing the animals like this – its how farms should be!

Our animals eat very well too! (Possibly better than us sometimes!) As an organic farm, we are not permitted to use genetically modified animal feeds (not that we would want to). We don’t have to import tonnes and tonnes of animal food for our cows because they love eating our herbal lays! We also grow clover (which helps fix nitrogen in the soil) which is super healthy for the animals too. In fact, Soil Association certification has the highest farm animal welfare standards in the UK!

So, as you can see, being an organic farm is pretty special to us. We hope you’ll agree that it’s a far better way of farming for the environment, animals and everyone!

Want to know more? Take a look at the video on the Compassion in World Farming website