Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Payments boost for organic farmers

60pc increase in payments under new €56m scheme

Junior minister Tom Hayes
Junior minister Tom Hayes

Darragh McCullough and Grace Maher

Organic farmers received confirmation today of a 60pc increase in their payments under a new €56m scheme announced by the Department of Agriculture.

Livestock farms up to 60ha in size will now be paid €220/ha during conversion, and €170/ha subsequently.

This brings payments into line with what livestock farmers in Europe are receiving, according to IOFGA. However, they pointed to ongoing production deficits in the tillage, horticulture and dairy sectors, with imports dominating.

"With the EU market valued at €23bn, Irish farmers have a lot of market opportunities sitting on their doorstep," said IOFGA's Gillian Westbrook.

"In Ireland 1.3pc of land is certified organic, well below the EU average of 5pc. In addition there are 10 countries in Europe recording over 10pc of their land as certified organic."

To assist farmers in the transition to organic production IOFGA is running a farm-walk programme for new members, whereby established organic farmers share their experiences of producing food to organic standards and also explore available options within organic markets.


The closing date for applications to the scheme is May 29, and these must be made online. However, there is no requirement to use an agricultural advisor to make the applications. By entering the scheme, the farmer is entering a five-year contract.

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The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes, made the announcement during a visit to John Purcell's operation near Cashel in Tipperary, where beef animals are reared and processed for Good Herdsmen.

"The application process itself is quite simple, and most farmers should have no difficulty in submitting their applications. However, those who prefer to have their advisor make the application on their behalf will be able to do so," said Minister Hayes.

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