Organic suckler and tillage farmer Mary Lynch has been appointed as the Agricultural Consultants Association's (ACA) organic specialist.

The specialist role was created by the ACA to cater for what it says is an increasing farmer demand for advice on organics.

Lynch, who has more than 25 years of advisory experience, also teaches part-time at the organic college in Dromcollogher and is a part-time farm inspector with the Irish Organic Association (IOA).

The ACA, which represents private farm advisers, has said that the appointment will allow the body to grow its role in providing farmers with information on making the switch to organics with the opening of the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS).

Speaking at the announcement of the new role, ACA president Noel Feeney recognised the appointment as a significant development for the advisers’ group.

'Positive progress'

“We will continue to build on the positive progress on the promotion of organics within our network and the appointment of the ACA organic specialist is another important development for [the] ACA,” said Feeney.

“Mary has significant experience in organics and we are very pleased that she will be supporting ACA members to provide them with the knowledge and information to discuss organics with their farmer clients.

“[The] ACA have a number of objectives within our own organic programme for 2022 and Mary will now assist us in ensuring we achieve these by the end of the year.”

Meeting demand

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said that the ACA was working to address the growing demand for information on conversion from farmers.

“With their upcoming regional events and the appointment of a dedicated organic specialist, the ACA are continuing to address the demand for knowledge among farmers converting to organic farming.

“The development of the organic sector in Ireland continues to be a major priority for my Department and indeed across Government.

“The participation of the ACA as a key conduit for advisory support to farmers is an important element of this.

"As we prepare to reopen the OFS later in 2022, the work of the ACA will be pivotal to ensure that high-quality advisory support is in place to support farmers making the transition,” said Minister Hackett.