Organic Food & Farming in Scotland

Supporting our members and their products

Organic Certification for Farming and Processing

SOPA & Scottish Farming

SOPA hold the only UK approved organic standards that are specifically developed for Scottish farmers. This means that our organic standards suit the culture of Scottish farming, and respect our unique climate, geography and biodiversity.  And our Defra-approved certification process ensures SOPA standards are fully compliant with organic regulations in the rest of the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.  Farm produce such as cereal crops, fodder crops, livestock, vegetables and wool are covered by the SOPA Organic Standards.

Environmentally friendly farming

  • The most important principle of organic farming is the reliance on natural cycles.  Nothing artificial (such as bagged fertiliser or chemical sprays) is permitted.
  • Organic farmers enhance things that occur naturally in the natural world.
  • Understanding how natural chemistry and biology work are key to protecting them so that the organic farm can build a natural balance.
  • Organic farmers take a holistic view over time and space, concentrating on the balance of inputs that help things grow.
  • Soil health is a key priority.  Things like pH, organic matter, and soil structure are carefully managed.  Soil analysis is extremely important to tell us what is happening under our feet and what we can do to strive to a healthy soil in balance.
  • While other farmers rely on chemical fertilisers, organic farmers rely on natural soil and nutrient cycles for plant nutrients.
  • Organic farmers rely on legumes such as clovers, peas, beans, trefoils or sainfoin for biological nitrogen fixation. This is a natural cycle where leguminous plants extract nitrogen from the air and convert in in their root systems to nitrogen that feeds the growing plants.  Clover is the single most important plant on an organic farm.
  • Composted farm manures are also important sources of key plant nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium, as well as organic matter to improve soil structure and texture.
  • Cereal and vegetable crops are grown in rotations with clover rich grass leys.  Organic farmers do what they can to encourage a wide diversity of plant species in the growing crop, sometimes growing two or more crops together at the same time.  Species diversity helps improve yield and pest and disease resistance, so if the plants are stronger then we don’t need to rely on chemical sprays for plant health.
  • All livestock on organic farms are free range.
  • Livestock health and welfare are strictly controlled on organic farms.  SOPA employs a bespoke whole herd and flock health plan that is written in conjunction with the farm vet to look after the health of the animals on the farm.
  • The Five Freedoms are the foundation of all organic livestock management.  It is essential that animal welfare follows these and that husbandry skills are sufficient to ensure each animal is cared for according to their daily needs for shelter, food, water and expressing natural behaviours.
  • When an animal is sick, it must be treated.  Its health is of vital importance, and organic farmers work closely with their vet to manage the whole herd or flock and core health status. Vaccinations are permitted, and organic farmers also use other management techniques such as extensive free range stocking densities, the right type of breed, FEC and blood testing to tell us what conditions need to be treated.

News Updates

Time for well deserved recognition in the Agriscot Awards

July 29, 2022

New Issue of SOPA Organic Farm Standards for Producers

June 30, 2022

SOPA at the Royal Highland Show

June 15, 2022

Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) - Scottish Government funding programme

June 1, 2022


PO Box Golspie, KW106AA
Email: info@sopa.org.uk Tel: 0300 772 9795

Scottish Organic Producers Association, Registered Office is c/o Drummond Laurie, Algo Business Centre, Glenearn Rd, Perth, PH2 8BX.
Scottish Organic Producers Association is a Co-operative registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, Registration Number SP02278R. Organic Certification GB-ORG-17