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Minister Hackett announces opening of Organic Farming Scheme to new entrants following year of unprecedented developments

Minister Hackett announces opening of Organic Farming Scheme to new entrants following year of unprecedented developments

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced today that the Organic Farming Scheme will be open to new applicants from Friday 3rd November, and will remain open until 8th December.

Confirming the opening of the Scheme, Minister Hackett said:

“I am delighted to formally reopen the new Organic Farming Scheme to new applicants. This Government has a strong vision for organic farming, and the reopening of the scheme is the latest development in what has been a transformational number of years since this Government took office. We anticipate the huge interest among farmers to be reflected in applications to the scheme.

“The current level of interest in organic farming in Ireland is unprecedented. In the last year alone, the number of organic farms has doubled and there has been significant investment made in market development. Earlier this year, I secured Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding for the promotion and development of the organic sector, and Bord Bia is launching a national consumer advertising campaign on November 6th. The momentum of the organic sector is now very strongly underpinned by Government policy and supported by state agencies including Teagasc and Bord Bia, as well as the private advisory services in ACA and the Organic Certification Bodies. This is a great opportunity for many farmers to maximise sustainability and future-proof their business by reducing their input costs. I have just returned from an organic trade show, Natexpo, in Paris, where I met with buyers from the major retailers in France. They are confident about the future of the sector, and Bord Bia will continue to promote Irish organic food both at home and abroad. We are determined to deliver on the Climate Action Plan target to reach 10% of land farmed organically by 2030, and key to this is the enhanced budget support for organics of €256 million in our CAP Strategic Plan.”

The Organic Farming Scheme is an agri-environment measure under the Department's CAP Strategic Plan. Drystock farmers entering into a contract could qualify for yearly payments of up to €300 per hectare during the conversion period and up to €250 per hectare when they have achieved full organic status. Higher payment rates are available for organic horticultural and tillage farmers. In addition, an annual participation payment of €2,000 in the first year of conversion and €1,400/annum thereafter has been introduced to support organic farmers.

Minister Hackett concluded:

“Last year I convened the Organic Strategy Forum, and my Department has listened to and engaged with the farming community and stakeholders across the sector. It is particularly reassuring to see the support from the farming organisations for organic farming. I have responded by securing an enhanced package of measures that provides foundational support for those that join the scheme. The most recent of these is the organic trading hub, which is a free marketplace for organic farmers to buy and sell product. Organic farmers also have priority access to our agri-environmental scheme, ACRES. I would encourage all interested farmers to engage with their advisors to examine the supports available and apply for this scheme over the coming weeks."

Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D welcomed the reopening of the organic farming scheme stating:

“My ambition is to see farmers across Ireland supported to pursue the agricultural activity that best suits their farm and their farm family and the organic farming scheme represents a very attractive opportunity for farmers. This support is coming via not only very attractive scheme payments but also through funding for promotion to drive increased consumer sales volumes. This will also be important in helping drive our ambition to increase the area of land under organic farming.”

Notes for Editors:

To illustrate the increased level of supports a payments calculator has been developed for farmers and is available at

This calculator displays the value for each farmer of converting to organic.

The Scheme will be open to applications from all sectors from Friday 3rd November 2023. It will remain open until 8th December 2023.

A guide to the Organic Farming Scheme application process and a FAQ document is available on the department’s website to assist potential applicants at: Organic Farming Scheme.

Teagasc have developed a series of new Organic Factsheets to give information to farmers considering organic enterprise options. In addition, a new guide “Organic Farming – A Step-by-Step Guide to Conversion” has been developed and is available on the Teagasc website.

Copies of the Organic Farming Scheme terms and conditions are available on the department's organics page at Organic Farming Scheme.

Ireland's Programme for Government has set a target of more than tripling the organic land area by 2027 to approximately 336,000 hectares. This target has been incorporated into Irelands CAP Strategic Plan, Food Vision 2030 and our Climate Action Plan has a target of 10% by 2030.

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 Strategic Plan.

The EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) is a partnership between society and agriculture that ensures a stable supply of food, safeguards farmers’ income, protects the environment and keeps rural areas vibrant. EU countries implement the CAP at national level with a CAP Strategic Plan for the period 2023-2027.

The Organic Farming Scheme is co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the EU.

For more information, visit