Local farmers considering an application to the Organic Farming Scheme have until April 30 to do so, following the reopening of the scheme earlier this month, with an additional budget of €4 million for 2021.
This additional funding was confirmed by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, when she confirmed the continuation of the scheme last month.
A total of 1,460 farmers participated in the last scheme and it is envisaged that approximately 500 more may be successful in their application this spring.
“Applications for the scheme must be made online through the Department’s online system at www.agfood.ie I would encourage every farmer to inform themselves of the opportunities that the Organic Farming Scheme offers and give it full consideration,” Philip O’Connor, Head of Farm Supports at Ifac said.
Payments of up to €220 per hectare are available for farms undergoing conversion to full organic status, a process that takes two years, or €170 per hectare for farms that have obtained that status. Higher payment rates are available for organic horticulture and tillage farmers.
The minimum farm area allocated is three hectares for dairy, dry stock and tillage, or one hectare for horticulture, with rates of payment decreasing for horticulture farms over six hectares, tillage farms over 20 hectares and all farms over 60 hectares.
All applications must be processed through www.agfood.ie, and to be eligible, farmers must submit an annual Basic Payment Scheme application and must be registered with one of the two Organic Control Bodies that certify land-based organic operators; The Irish Organic Association and Organic Trust CLG.