A Wexford organic farming family played host to Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, recently as she launched the first of a nationwide series of organic demonstration farm walks for farmers.
Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and organised by Teagasc, these walks will showcase successful organic operators in a wide range of organic enterprises.
The farms hosting the walks cover the beef, cereal, horticulture, dairy, sheep and poultry sectors and will also highlight direct selling opportunities.
Speaking at the organic farm of the Whitty Family, Dunganstown, Minister Hackett said: “I am delighted to be here at the organic farm of the Whitty family, to launch a new programme of Organic Demonstration Farm Walks. These are hugely beneficial to help other farmers learn from their peers and I would encourage all farmers, whether already organic or just considering it to visit one of these over the next few months.”
The minister outlined the commitment in the current Programme for Government to align Ireland’s organic land area with that of the current EU average of approximately 7.5 per cent over the lifetime of this Government.
“I am very pleased to have secured a significant increase of €5 million in the budget for organic farming for 2022. This increase means that I can confirm that the Organic Farming Scheme will reopen to new applicants next January.
“Between now and then I’ll be working with all stakeholders to ensure that any farmer considering joining the scheme has all of the available information to allow them to make an informed choice.”
The minister added that schemes for other organic supports are currently open: a new tranche for receipt of applications under the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme is now open and will close on January 31. It was also outlined that the current tranche under the Organic Capital Investment has opened and has a closing date of January 14.
Minister Hackett acknowledged the work done by Teagasc and attributed the success of the organic demonstration farm programme, “to the knowledge and expertise which they bring to these walks.”
The Minister thanked Joe and Alicia Whitty for their hospitality and willingness to share their expertise and knowledge with other farmers.