The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, has announced the start of the 2021 advance payments for the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS). Over €4m is issuing to 1,000 organic farmers in the scheme as part of their participation in the scheme. Payments will continue to issue each week to the remaining farmers.
The Minister said:
I am pleased to announce the commencement of advance payments of over €4million to approximately 1000 organic farmers under the Organic Farming Scheme. This money is arriving in their bank accounts today in recognition of their commitment to organic farming. One of our clear commitments to farmers is to issue scheme payments when they are due and I am delighted to say that these payments are issuing on schedule again this year. This continues my Department’s performance this year of commencing all scheme payments on time.
The Minister added:
Farmers in the organic scheme earn these payments because they are delivering enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits while responding to the market demand for organically produced food. I want more farmers to consider joining them and am reopening the scheme in January 2022 for new applications. Farmers can qualify for annual payments of up to €220 per hectare during the conversion period and up to €170 per hectare when they have achieved full organic status. Higher payment rates are available for organic horticulture and tillage farmers.
Anyone interested in joining should contact their agricultural advisor or Organic Control Body at this stage to begin the process. Teagasc have also held a series of organic webinars recently including one which focuses on the conversion process to organic farming, These are available to view on the Teagasc website www.teagasc.ie
The Minister concluded, by saying:
My Department has offered an Organic Farming Scheme contract extension up to the end of 2022 to any participant whose contract was due to expire at the end of this year. I would strongly encourage anybody who has not yet responded to this extension offer to contact the Department as soon as possible. In the meantime we will continue to issue payments each week