Minister Hackett announces opening of Organic Farming Scheme to new entrants following huge interest
Applications can be made from today until 9th December
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett today announced that the Organic Farming Scheme is open to new applicants from today, Thursday, October 20th. The scheme includes the higher rates announced earlier this year, and the application window is open until December 9th.
Announcing the opening of the Scheme, Minister Hackett said:
“Today, I am delighted to formally open the new Organic Farming Scheme to new applicants. This Government has a strong vision for organic farming, and the opening of the scheme is the latest development in what has been a transformational two years since this Government took office. We anticipate the huge interest among farmers to be reflected in applications to the scheme.
”Last month I announced significantly enhanced payment rates. The level of interest in organic farming in Ireland has never been seen before. Farm walks and information events have seen numbers of farmers that are unprecedented. The momentum of the Organic sector is now very strongly underpinned by Government policy and supported by state agencies including Teagasc and Bord Bia, as well as the private advisory services in ACA and the Organic Certification Bodies. This is a great opportunity for many farmers to maximise sustainability and future-proof their business by reducing their input costs.”
“We are determined to deliver on the Programmed for Government target to reach 7.5% of land farmed organically, and key to this is the enhanced budget support for organics of €256 million in our CAP Strategic Plan.”
The Organic Farming Scheme is an agri-environment measure under the Department's Rural Development Programme. Drystock farmers entering into a contract could qualify for yearly payments of up to €300 per hectare during the conversion period and up to €250 per hectare when they have achieved full organic status. Higher payment rates are available for organic horticultural and tillage farmers. In addition, an annual participation payment of €2,000 in the first year of conversion and €1,400/annum thereafter has been introduced to support organic farmers.
Minister Hackett concluded,
“Earlier this year I convened the Organic Strategy Forum and my department and I have listened and engaged with the farming community and stakeholders across the sector. It is particularly reassuring to see the support from the farming organisations for organic farming. I have responded by securing an enhanced package of measures that will provide foundational support for those that join the scheme. The most recent of these is the proposed increased rate in TAMS to 60% for organic farmers from Jan 1st 2023. Farmers who join the Organic Farming Scheme now have until Autumn 2023 to comply with organic livestock housing requirements, and so they have an opportunity to avail of this higher support rate. Organic farmers will also have priority access to our new agri-environmental scheme, ACRES. I would encourage all interested farmers to engage with their advisors to examine the supports available and apply for this scheme over the coming weeks.”.