Applications by new conversion farmers to the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) have broken 1,000, the Irish Farmers Journal can reveal.

As of Wednesday night, and with only two days left to apply to the scheme, some 1,011 new farmers have signed up to convert to organic production over the next two years.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said the rate of new organic entrants entering the OFS is still increasing daily ahead of the closing date of Friday 9 December.

Existing farmers

There have also been a further 1,061 applications from farmers to the OFS where their contract expires on 31 December 2022.

Adding these 1,061 farmers who are already converting to or are already fully registered as organic to the 1,011 new applicants means there could be more than 2,000 farmers in the OFS from January.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett speaking at a recent Green Party conference. \ Myles Shelly

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett had previously suggested that the numbers applying to the organic scheme would be “in the thousands”, with the latest update from the Department indicating her estimates were not wrong.

The breakdown of the 1,011 new organic entrants is not yet known, but it is understood that the vast majority are beef and sheep farmers.

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Farmers converting to organics could be ‘in the 1,000s’ – Hackett