Organic Farming Scheme opens
The Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) opened today (February 9th) for new applicants into the scheme. The scheme will financially reward farmers who commit to farming their land organically. Joe Kelleher, Teagasc Organic Specialist has information about the new scheme here in this article and podcast
Farmers undergo a two year conversion period before achieving full organic status in year three, at which stage they can sell their produce as certified organic. Payment rates for grassland farmers are €220/Ha in the first two years of the scheme and €170/Ha thereafter. Higher payment rates are available for tillage and horticultural growers.
There are two key changes to this year’s scheme;
- The maximum eligible hectares for payment has increased from 60Ha to 70Ha
- The minimum stocking rate has decreased from 0.5LU/Ha to 0.15LU/Ha
These changes could have a significant impact on farmers with large holdings with low stocking rates. Hill sheep farmers are one cohort of farmers that could benefit from these rule changes. A farmer with 70 ewes on 70Ha in the previous OFS scheme would have received €3960 per annum while in conversion. This same farmer will receive €15,400 under the new scheme while converting.
Teagasc have organised a series of national and local webinars to take place over the next 2 months to inform any farmers that may be considering converting to organic farming. There is also a series of farm demo walks which are organised in conjunction the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine which commence on March 2nd. For further information on any of these events visit Organic Events
Any farmers considering organics should speak to their advisor, talk to another organic farmer, visit one of the upcoming farm walks and find as much information as possible and then decide if organic farming is a suitable way of farming for you and your farm. The Organic Farming Scheme is open until April 8th 2022.
Have a listen to Joe Kelleher speaking with Catherine Egan on the Beef Edge podcast below
You might also like to read Opportunities in Organic Farming