The closing date for the organic farming program has been extended, the Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced.
Applications for the organic farming scheme can now be submitted until the new closing date of Friday 22 April.
The Organic Farming Scheme, which aims to increase the amount of land farmed organically in Ireland, includes an additional €5 million to accommodate new entrants.
To ensure maximum opportunities for those wishing to apply for the programme, Minister Hackett said:
“I have listened to farmers and their advisors on the need for this extension, and I am pleased to make this announcement so they have more time to review and submit applications.”
Under the organic farming scheme, farmers can potentially receive up to €15,000 a year, according to Minister Hackett who hopes the extended closing date will encourage more farmers to consider joining the scheme.
Farmers entering the scheme could benefit from annual payments of up to €220/ha during the conversion period, and up to €170/ha when they have achieved fully organic status.
Higher payment rates are available for organic horticulture and tillage farmers. This year, applicants can also benefit from any new rates introduced next year under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Changes to the organic farming scheme this year included reducing the stocking rate required and expanding the area paid at the higher rate.
Minister Hackett added that a series of recent public consultations on the new CAP has generated considerable interest from farmers in converting to organic farming and the support available.
“At a time when input costs are high for farmers, the scheme provides an opportunity for agricultural businesses to diversify, and I would really encourage farmers to consider taking advantage of the supports provided,” said Minister Hackett.