The reaction of senior members of the IFA to the €256m allocated to organic farming in the next CAP was “out of frustration” as the IFA didn’t deliver on its policy of €30/ewe or €300/cow, IFA organics project team chair Nigel Renaghan has said.

At IFA protests last week, IFA president Tim Cullinan, IFA treasurer Martin Stapleton and north Tipperary IFA chair Imelda Walsh spoke out against the money for organics.

Walsh said €200m of the fund should be allocated instead conventional suckler, sheep and tillage farmers.

Renaghan told the Irish Farmers Journal that the comments are not acceptable.

“The comments were made by people that weren’t in a position to comment. They’re neither in organic farming nor on the IFA organics project team. Opinions should be given by people who have the relevant expertise in the area.

“If you look at the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Programme for Government, they’re all pointing in that direction. Our submission to Government said that €48m a year was needed to get to 6% organic land area in Ireland. The project team, led by myself, has worked on this for three years.

“The reaction of senior members of the IFA was out of frustration, simply because the IFA policy was for €30/ewe and €300/cow and we didn’t deliver on that, but the organics project team delivered,” he said. Renaghan added that any farmer who isn’t in a nitrates derogation potentially could be in organics.


Meanwhile, the CEO of the Irish Organic Association Gillian Westbrook, told the Irish Farmers Journal this week that the funding for organic farming is “unsurprising”.

She said that the extent of the increase in funding was “perhaps not as expected by some farm bodies”.

She described Walsh’s comments as “disappointing” and that no farmer should lose out by the movement of funding from any sector to organics. “Those that feel shortchanged can go into organics,” she said.