Only 1.3% of Irish holdings were farmed organically in 2020, equating to only 1.3% of holdings, when 1,686 farms out of a total of 130,216 were managed under organic systems, data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) suggest.
These farms represented a combined 74,000ha of land, 96% of which was grassland, the CSO found.
There was approximately 17,573 suckler cows and 2,843 dairy cows farmed organically, with beef farming making up the majority of organic farmers when the data was collected two years ago.
One-third of organic farms were less than 30ha and over 60% were between 30ha and 100ha. Roughly one out of every 20 organic farms exceeded 100ha.
Approximately 15% of organic holdings had an economic output of less than €8,000, while some 5% of organic farms had an output exceeding €100,000, the CSO data show.
The CSO determined that there was a slightly higher proportion of female farmers operating organically than farming conventionally, with the organic sector having a younger farmer demographic, as the median age of organic farmers was three years younger than those of all farms.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue gave an update on the organic sector when Matt Carthy TD questioned him on organic farming targets on Thursday in Dáil Éireann.
Minister McConalogue stated that 12,000ha and 17,000ha had been taken into the conversion process over the past two years respectively, increasing the organically farmed area by around one third over this time.