A series of organic demonstration farm walks, which will cover beef, cereal, horticulture, dairy, sheep and poultry organic enterprises, has been launched by Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett.

The Green Party senator has said that the series will “highlight direct selling opportunities” and act as a way for farmers to “learn from their peers” about the opportunities to be found in converting to an organic system.

The farm walk series will be funded by the Department and has been organised by Teagasc.

The first walk was held on the organic dairy farm of Joe and Alicia Whitty at Dunganstown, New Ross, Co Wexford, last week. Interest was strong, with an attendance of over 250 farmers on the day.

Government commitment

Senator Hackett said the organic farm walk series “will showcase successful organic operators in a wide range of organic enterprises” and described the initiative as part of the commitment in the current programme for government to align Ireland’s organic land area with “that of the current EU average of approximately 7.5%”.

She continued: “I am very pleased to have secured a significant increase of €5m in the budget for organic farming for 2022.”

She confirmed that the increase has ensured that the Organic Farming Scheme will reopen to new applicants this January.

Senator Hackett says she will be working with all stakeholders to ensure that “any farmer considering joining the scheme has all of the available information to allow them to make an informed choice”.

However, ahead of the opening of the scheme in January, she added that schemes for other organic farming supports are currently already open, including the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme and the Organic Capital Investment Scheme.