The 2022 balancing payments for the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) commenced on Wednesday 29 March, according to the Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett.

This payment will be for the final 15% of the annual payment to the farmers who farmed organically in 2022 under the scheme.

The Minister said that over €10m has issued so far to farmers in the OFS for 2022.

"A key priority for my Department is ensuring farmers receive their payments each year on time.

"As such, I am very pleased these balancing payments, which provide support farmers in their conversion and maintenance of organic farming, are commencing two months ahead of schedule," she said.

The most recent tranche of the Organic Farming Scheme saw 3,423 eligible applications received.

Of these, over 2,000 are new to organic farming, Minister Hackett said.

"This increase in land under organic production brings us closer to our target of 10% of organic land area by 2030 as set out in the Climate Action Plan.

"I plan to reopen the scheme later this year for new entrants and would encourage all farmers to seriously consider joining," she said.