2017/2018 Organic Demonstration Farm Walks Announced
A nationwide series of twelve organic demonstration farm walks to showcase successful organic operators will commence on 6th December 2017 and be completed in July 2018. These farm walks offer producers the opportunity to learn first-hand about the practicalities of organic farming. Organised by Teagasc, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, the first walk in this year’s series will take place on the farm of Tom Dunne, Seefeld Farm, Ballinaslee, Durrow, Co, Laois on Wednesday 6th December at 12pm. Tom Dunne is an organic beef farmer and a former overall award winner of the Irish Independent/Zurich Insurance Farmer of the Year competition.
Elaine Leavy, Teagasc Organic Specialist said: “The farm walk programme provides a great opportunity for conventional farmers to see the developments taking place on organic farms. For organic farmers it allows for the sharing of information and experiences between producers. The series of farm walks are spread over an eight month period and are seasonally topical, which will give people the opportunity to see a wide range of organic farming practices”.
At each of the farm walks, the host farmer, along with representatives from Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Organic Certification Bodies, will be on hand to answer questions. Teagasc has incorporated specific themes into the farm walks such as grassland management, soil fertility and crop rotations. Farmers and their families, along with members of the public are welcome to attend.
Organically managed land now occupies approximately 2% of the total utilizable agricultural area (UAA) in the country, which is over a doubling in area compared to the previous decade. At farm level in Ireland, the organic sector has experienced a large influx of new farmers in recent years with 1,800 farmers now farming organically, including approximately 600 who entered conversion in 2015. About 70% of organic farmers in Ireland are cattle farmers.
Irish organic food enjoys an excellent reputation both at home and especially across Europe. Latest figures show the organic retail food market in Ireland is now worth over €162 million annually (Source Bord Bia, October 2017), an increase of 50% in the past 3 years. In the European Union, the market for organic food is worth €30 billion (2015), over a doubling in size over the last 10 years.
The 12 farms hosting the walks represent the wide range of organic enterprises in Ireland and cover the beef, cereal, horticulture, dairy, sheep and poultry sectors as well as direct selling opportunities.
See the full list of twelve demo farm walks Organic Demonstration Farm Walks 2018