Frequently asked questions
Here you'll find answers to the key questions about our service, the support behind it, and how Soil Association Exchange will work.
Why should I sign up to Soil Association Exchange?
Many reasons! Firstly, Soil Association Exchange provides high-quality data on a farm’s sustainability which is increasingly required by food processors, retailers and the finance industry.
Secondly, we provide world-class agricultural advice on regenerative farming through our expert team of agricultural advisors.
Thirdly, we help farmers take advantage of the financial opportunities available to farms which are farming more sustainably (including public subsidies and private markets, such as carbon).
What are the financial benefits for me to signing up?
It's difficult to determine exactly how much your farm could make through registering because every farm is different. However, our agricultural advisors will be on-hand to help you unlock the maximum amount of value possible.
How much will Soil Association Exchange cost?
It is free to use the Exchange's platform to calculate your farm’s sustainability score and receive some online advice, however, there are some other costs.
If a farmer wants one of our agricultural advisors to help collect the data in-person or provide in-person agricultural advice, there is a daily charge of £600. For a farm to calculate its score, it will need to also pay for some laboratory tests. The approximate cost of these are:
£30 per soil sample (number of sample required depends on size/type of farm but an average is 1 per every 10 ha)
£275 biodiversity lab test (1 or 2 per farm, depending on size)
£100 water test
What is included in my farm’s Soil Association Exchange score?
Your farm’s Soil Association Exchange score looks at the following six impact areas: soils, climate change, biodiversity, water, animal welfare and society. In each of those impact areas, there are 3-5 indicators that tell us the most about the state of that impact area on your farm. You can view the full methodology of how we calculate your farm’s sustainability score here.
How accurate is my farm’s sustainability score?
We have worked with the UK’s leading scientists, farmers and food businesses to create the Soil Association Exchange sustainability score methodology. It is based on the best possible science available. We are constantly evolving how we calculate your farm’s score to account for new science and measurement methodologies.
How long does it take to calculate my farm’s Exchange score?
To get an accurate ecological score of your farm across the 6 impact areas (soils, biodiversity, climate change, water, animal welfare, and society) it takes about 2 hours answering some online questions and 1 full day on your farm. This may sound like a lot, but it helps us guarantee the accuracy of the data and get you the best possible baseline for your farm. Our agricultural advisors are on-hand to help you through the process.
How does Soil Association Exchange interact with the Global Farm Metric?
Soil Association Exchange works closely with the team behind the Global Farm Metric (GFM). Soil Association Exchange is built off the high-level framework of the GFM.
How will you protect my data?
We take the role of looking after your data very seriously. We will never share your farm data with anyone unless you explicitly give us permission. We will store your data under the strictest protections to ensure it is safe. You can read more about how we look after your data here.
Can I get involved in some early pilots of Soil Association Exchange?
Yes. We will be testing Soil Association Exchange with a select group of farms during Spring and Summer 2022. If you are interested in being one of those farms, please contact us.
Why has the Soil Association launched Exchange?
The Soil Association has been supporting farmers to farm more profitably and sustainably for over 75 years.
Launching Exchange was a logical next step, providing a new platform dedicated to sharing the knowledge amassed between farmers across the industry, and to help all UK farmers and land managers reap the rewards of sustainable practices.
Soil Association has offended non-organic farmers in the past. Why should I trust them now?
We believe that all farmers can farm in a way that’s productive, profitable and good for the climate and nature.
Since 2012, we’ve been working hard through our Innovative Farmers programme to engage 15,000 farmers from all different farming backgrounds, listening to their knowledge and experiences as they trial new techniques.
Soil Association Exchange is for all farmers regardless of what practices they follow. Every farm is different, and we want to support farmers to connect and share their insight so all farmers can benefit from the environmental and financial rewards of regenerative.