Minister of State Pippa Hackett has announced the start of 2021 advance payments for the Organic Agriculture Program (OFS).
Over â¬ 4 million are distributed to 1,000 organic farmers in the scheme as part of their participation in the scheme. Payments will continue to be made weekly to the remaining farmers.
The minister said the money was arriving in their bank accounts today (Friday, November 26) “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 being made on time again this year,” said the senator.
âIt continues my department’s performance this year to start all plan payments on time.
âOrganic program farmers earn these payments because they provide increased environmental and animal welfare benefits while meeting market demand for organically produced food.
âI want more farmers to consider joining them and I’m reopening the program in January 2022 for new applications. “
Farmers can claim annual payments of up to â¬ 220 / ha during the conversion period and up to â¬ 170 / ha when they have achieved full organic status.
Higher payment rates are available for organic horticulturalists and farmers who practice tillage under the scheme.
The Agriculture Ministry has offered an OFS contract extension until the end of 2022 to any participant whose contract was due to expire at the end of this year.
âI strongly encourage anyone who has not yet responded to this extension offer to contact the ministry as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to issue payments every week, âadded the Minister.
These advances amount to 85% of the full annual payment offered under the plan. The subsequent 15% compensation payment is expected to be made in May 2022.
Currently, 1,765 organic farmers participate in the organic farming program and annual payments under the program amount to around â¬ 10.5 million.
Around 90,000 ha are currently under organic production in Ireland.