The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett has today announced proposed new enhanced rates for farmers participating in the Organic farming scheme. These are subject to approval by the European Commission as part of the ongoing discussions on approval of Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan, and would apply from 1st January 2023.
Announcing the new rates the Minister said : “The budget proposed for this scheme under the next CAP is a five-fold increase on what was previously available. This is my commitment to growing and investing in the Irish organic sector. Feedback from the CAP consultative committee, the reconvened Organic Strategy forum and interested stakeholders has made it clear that enhanced payment rates are needed to support farmers converting to and maintaining organic farming.
The proposed enhanced payment rates are :
Year 1-2 (in-conversion)
Year 3-5 (fully converted)
Year 3-5 (fully converted)
The Minister added “Organic farmers incur additional expenses on an annual basis such as attending training and constantly upskilling themselves in soil health and animal management. In recognition of these costs I am proposing an annual participation payment which will be €2000 in the first year of conversion and €1400/year thereafter. This will support farmers as we achieve the targets set out in the Programme for Government of farming 330,000 ha organically.”
In order to allow farmers and advisors assess the increased level of support of these new rates a payments calculator has been developed and will be available at https://cap-calculators.apps.rhos.agriculture.gov.ie/ This calculator allows them to assess the value of converting to organic
Minister Hackett also noted “I have engaged with stakeholders and industry and there is broad acceptance that the environmenal and socio-economic benefits of Organic farming are needed now more than ever.The new enhanced rates are reflective of my commitment to ensure that our Programme for Government target of 7.5% of farmland to be under organic production by the end of the CAP cycle of 2027, is achieved. I am confident that these new rates will entice in many new farmers to organic farming and I would encourage every farmer to consider it and be ready for when the new scheme opens this autumn.”
Speaking on the new rates, the Agricultural Consultants Association President Noel Feeney commented, “ACA welcome the very positive news on the increased payments for organics. ACA have commenced our National advisory training programme and in the forthcoming months our members will have significant contact with Irish farmers. The discussions and promotion of organics with our clients are greatly helped with this announcement and we look forward to assisting Minister Hackett and her officials with the sectoral objectives”
Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Mara also welcomed the news stating “Organic farming offers a viable farming option for many farmers around the country. Today’s announcement will make it more attractive. Teagasc are increasing the staff resource allocated to the team providing organic advice, through the recruitment of a number of additional advisers and a specialist. This enhanced team will support existing organic farmers, those converting to organic, and those farmers considering the option in the future.”
Notes for Editors
The EU Green Deal sets a target of 25% of the EUs agricultural area to be farmed organically by 2030. Irelands current area is approxiamately 2% of the agricultural area, circa 110,000 hectares.
Irelands Programme for Government has set a target of more than tripling the organic land area by 2027 to approximately 330,000 hectares. This target has been incorporated into Irelands CAP Strategic Plan, Food Vision 2030 and Climate Action Plan.
For a 40ha drystock farmer total payment over the 5 years of the organic farming scheme will be 54% higher than under the previous CAP.
The aim is to reach this target by supporting farmers to convert to organic farming through the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), enhanced advisory support and increased promotion as well as developing market demand.
The overall objective of the Organic Farming Scheme is to deliver enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits and to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food.
A total budget of €256 million has been allocated to the OFS over the lifetime of the new CAP.