Some 336 new applicants who applied to the Organic Farming Scheme earlier this year have been approved, adding 16,000 hew hectares of land farmed organically in Ireland.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said that interest in and support for organic farming continues to grow.

“I can also confirm that the new Organic Farming Scheme with funding of €256m will open for applications in early October and will remain open until end [of] November.

“Farmers should avail of the latest advice from their farm adviser and check out the farm walks nationwide in the run-up to this opening.

"I would also encourage them to check out the CAP calculator available on the Department website to see their potential payment under the new Organic Farming Scheme,” she said.

Organic village

Minister Hackett also highlighted the new organic village, a collaboration between the Department and National Organic Training Skillnet, at this week’s National Ploughing Championships as a further example of the huge interest in the sector.

“For the first time in Ploughing championship history, a dedicated organic village will feature prominently on site, showcasing the thriving organic sector across a broad and diverse range of exhibition stands.

“Recognition of organic produce as an environmentally friendly consumer option continues to grow and I am delighted to see my Department working in collaboration with National Organic Training Skillnet to meet the increased demand for knowledge in the sector.

“There will be strong interest in the organic village from farmers, industry and consumers alike and I wish every success to all exhibitors in this exciting addition to the Ploughing 2022 event,” she said.