The Organic Farming Scheme has seen a surge in participation over the past two years, particularly in the latest tranche of applications, with 3,423 eligible applications received, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

Western farmers dominate the scheme, with 464 of organic farmers in Co Cork, the highest of any other county. It is followed by Roscommon, Donegal and Mayo.

As the map above shows, counties Dublin, Louth and Carlow have the lowest number of farmers in the organic scheme.

Of the 3,423 applications, the Minister confirmed that 2,131 aspiring farmers are new to the scheme, while the remaining 1,292 represent individuals whose contracts concluded on 31 December 2022.

All eligible candidates were officially accepted into the scheme in February 2023.

As a result, the total number of scheme participants has now reached 4,088, doubling from the previous year.

The Minister stated: “The goals outlined in the programme for government stipulate a target of 7.5% of total farmed land to be devoted to organic farming by 2027.

"Furthermore, the revised objective set in the climate action plan is to achieve 10% organic land area by 2030.”

The Minister explained that, currently, approximately 200,000ha of land are dedicated to organic production, accounting for 4% of the overall usable agricultural area.

This increase brings farmers a step closer to reaching targets, while providing certainty to those who have transitioned to organic farming.