Here are some of the benefits to being certified organic, when direct selling meat from specific upland breeds to the consumer.
There are a number of other reasons to consider organic certification in general, but this feature specifically relates to direct selling meat form upland breeds at farmers' markets.
1: Organic gives the producer an attractive product differentiation, one that allows the producer to retain ownership of the product from beginning to the end, and at all stages in between. This is particularly important at the butchering stage: with an organic animal, your product is not really in competition with the butcher's own retail product. Organic Galloway means a distinctly different animal, and the butcher is then more responsive to requests.
2: At the retail stage, organic certification is beneficial too: again you do not threaten the local butcher and his retail operations. Organic meat can be sold at farmers' markets in towns where conventional butchers operate without causing any bad feeling. This is important in the establishment of farmers' markets and for producers trying to gain access to established farmers' markets
3: Organic meat is especially sought at the farmers' market, where many markets go out of their way to accommodate local organic farmers. Some of the most prominent markets in Dublin especially go out of their way for organic meat, as do many in Cork.
4: For selling onto mainstream retail outlets, such as catering, public procurement, independent stores and supermarkets, organic certification offers a lot of reassurances to the buyer. In Joe Condon's own case, a particular retail outlet recently upgraded their requirements for suppliers in food safety and regulatory terms. However, they were 100% were happy with what's in his organic license - were he not certified organic, with a small processors license, he would have had to spend a considerable amount of time and money upgrading a range of measures.
By just being a fully competent and certified direct selling organic farmer, many of current and upcoming regulatory issues are covered.
5: For export markets organic is both a growing area and a quality (re)assurance. Long food chains see organic as a reassurance, especially going forward with the new compulsory EU organic logo.
6: There is a mark up/premium for organic. Even those who sell on to the bulk organic market claim that there is a premium of 10-15% for more standard animals.
7: The Organic Faming Scheme was recently reintroduced, whereas other similar schemes such as REPS have been downgraded. Organic payment rates are: €212 per hectare (ha) in conversion, from 3 to 55 ha, and a further €30 per ha for every ha above 55 ha claimed.
Full organic status: €106 per ha, from 3 to 55 ha, with €15 per ha for every ha above 55 claimed.
8: Organic farming is a growth area, whilst organic food sales are strong even in the recession. The volume of organic food is up 3% according to the most recent (September 2009) figures; the value is down in line with inflation, but less than so the conventional sector. The latter has seen both value and volume declines.