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MINISTER HAYES LAUNCHES NEW ORGANIC FARMING SCHEME

Published: 21st April 2015

On announcing the opening of the Scheme, Minister Hayes emphasised that “The Organic Farming Scheme is a key support measure that enables farmers to avail of the growing market opportunities that clearly exist for organic food.

My job is to encourage farmers to avail of these opportunities and by doing so, maximise their potential income.” The Minister also reminded organic farmers that they also qualify for priority access into GLAS, the new agri-environment scheme

Minister Hayes welcomed the fact that “the new Scheme offers significantly increased rates of aid to Organic farmers, both in conversion and when fully established. Applications for the new scheme must be made online, , but there will be no requirement to use an Agricultural Advisor to make the applications. The application process itself is quite simple, and most farmers should have no difficulty in submitting their applications. However, those who prefer to have their advisor make the application on their behalf will be able to do so.”

The Organic Farming Scheme is an agri-environment measure under the Department's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The Scheme is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Farmers enter into a contract for a minimum of five years, with standard rate payments of up to €220 per hectare a year during the conversion period and up to €170 per hectare when they have achieved full organic status. Higher payment rates are available for organic horticultural and tillage farmers.

In conclusion, the Minister said that the closing date for applications will be 29 May, 2015 and that decisions would be made at that stage on the number of applicants that will be accepted into the scheme. 

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

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/organicfarming/organicsscheme/organicfarmingscheme/

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