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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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New enhanced rates of up to €800/ha to convert to organics

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has revealed new proposed enhanced rates for farmers participating in the Organic Farming Scheme.

The revised payment rates are subject to approval by the European Commission as part of the ongoing discussions relating to the approval of Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan.

If the proposal secures EU approval, the higher payment rates will apply from January 1st, 2023, when the next CAP kicks into effect.

The budget proposed – €256m – for this scheme under the next CAP is a five-fold increase on what was previously available.

The proposed enhanced payment rates – which the DAFM says are in response to a call for more support for farmers converting to and maintaining organic farming – :

  Year 1-2

(in-conversion)

 

<< 70ha

€/ha

Year 1-2 (in-conversion)

 

>70ha

€/ha

Year 3-5 (fully converted)

 

<< 70ha

€/ha

Year 3-5 (fully converted)

 

>70ha

€/ha

Drystock 300 60 250 30
Tillage 320 60 270 30
Dairy 350 60 300 30
Horticulture 800 60 600 30

 

See an article with current rates.

Based on the above, for a 40ha drystock farmer, the total payment over the five years of the organic farming scheme will be 54% higher than under the previous CAP.

Additional payment

Furthermore, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, has proposed an annual participation payment of €2,000 in the first year of conversion and €1,400/year thereafter.

She stated that organic farmers incur additional expenses on an annual basis, such as attending training and constantly upskilling in soil health and animal management.

She believes that the above payment rates will support farmers as “we achieve the targets” set out in the Programme for Government of farming 330,000 ha organically.

The DAFM has developed a payment calculator to assist farmers and advisors in assessing the increased level of support.

Targets

The EU Green Deal sets a target of 25% of the EU’s agricultural area to be farmed organically by 2030.

Ireland’s current area is approximately 2% of the agricultural area, circa 110,000 hectares.

Ireland’s Programme for Government has set a target of more than tripling the organic land area by 2027 to approximately 330,000 hectares.

This target is in Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan, Food Vision 2030 and Climate Action Plan.

According to the DAFM, the aim is to reach this target by supporting farmers to convert to organic farming through:

  • The Organic Farming Scheme (OFS);
  • Enhanced advisory support;
  • Increased promotion;
  • Developing market demand.

The Organic Farming Scheme’s overall objective is to deliver enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits and to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food.

Minister Hackett said: “I have engaged with stakeholders and industry, and there is broad acceptance that the environmental and socio-economic benefits of organic farming are needed now more than ever.”

“The new enhanced rates are reflective of my commitment to ensure that our Programme for Government target of 7.5% of farmland to be under organic production by the end of the CAP cycle of 2027 is achieved.”

“I am confident that these new rates will entice many new farmers to organic farming. I  would encourage every farmer to consider it and be ready for when the new scheme opens this autumn,” she concluded.

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