Organic farming frees farmers from the shackles of regular farming, which is so tied into production and grass growth, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett has said.

Organics, she said, is often portrayed as the things you can't do. However, she views it as more of an enabling way to farm.

"It enables farmers to take back a bit more control.

"Going organic isn't for everyone, but I think it is for an awful lot of farmers in Ireland when you look at how they farm and the models of farming they have.

"I think every farmers should at least have a look and see what they think," she told a panel at the Energy and Farm Diversification Show in Gurteen on Thursday 20 July.

4,000 organic farmers

There are currently over 4,000 farmers farming organically - including just over 2,000 who entered conversion this year. This is double the amount of farmers who were in the organic scheme last year.

Farmers in the drystock sector who are in conversion now will be paid €300/ha for up to 70ha for the first two years and in years three to five will be paid €250/ha.

Tillage farmers who have made the switch will be paid €320/ha after converting and €270/ha from year three.

Dairy farmers are being paid €350/ha for switching and €300/ha once they are fully converted.


The Minister highlighted how the aim in the programme for Government was to increase the area of land in organics from less than 2% to 7.5% by the time the next CAP ended which is 2027.

"We secured a big budget of €250m, which is a five-fold increase on the previous CAP budget for organic farming. We've increased the rates of payments for farmers and we've incentivised it from a financial perspective," she said.

The increased energy costs, the war in Ukraine and increased fertiliser costs have also have an impact in the number of farmers who decided to convert, she said.

She described organics as a "nice alternative, ready to go with support and advice" on how to convert, she said.