Organic Farming Scheme - Now Open
Updated: Nov 10
I am delighted to announce that the Organic Farming Scheme is now open and will remain open until 8th December.
This Government has a strong vision for organic farming, and the reopening of the scheme is the latest development in what has been a transformational number of years since this Government took office. We anticipate the huge interest among farmers to be reflected in applications to the scheme.
The current level of interest in organic farming in Ireland is unprecedented. In the last year alone, the number of organic farms has doubled and there has been significant investment made in market development.
Earlier this year, I secured Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding for the promotion and development of the organic sector, and Bord Bia is launching a national consumer advertising campaign on November 6th. 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. I have just returned from an organic trade show, Natexpo, in Paris, where I met with buyers from the major retailers in France. They are confident about the future of the sector, and Bord Bia will continue to promote Irish organic food both at home and abroad. We are determined to deliver on the Climate Action Plan target to reach 10% of land farmed organically by 2030, 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 CAP Strategic Plan. 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.
Last year I convened the Organic Strategy Forum, and my Department has listened to 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 provides foundational support for those that join the scheme. The most recent of these is the organic trading hub, which is a free marketplace for organic farmers to buy and sell product. Organic farmers also have priority access to our 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."