The 2018 advance payments for farmers in the Organic Farming Scheme will commence tomorrow (Friday, December 7).

The announcement was made today by the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle.

Commenting on tomorrow’s initiation of payments, Minister Doyle said: “The scheme is one of our key drivers in increasing Irish organic output which will help us exploit the vast market opportunities internationally for this product.

I am delighted that we have met our commitment to commence these payments in December and at a rate far in excess of last year.

The minister added: “It is envisaged that in excess of €5 million will be issued to over 1,100 farmers this month.”

Under the scheme, farmers receive a payment to establish or support their organic enterprise.

The minister also announced that additional investment items have been included as eligible for grant-aid under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme.

Latest figures indicate that, as a result of the Organic Farming Scheme, there are now some 72,000ha under organic production in Ireland, an increase of nearly 50% on the position at the start of the Programme in 2014.

This scheme is part of the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) and aims to support on-farm capital investment for organic farms.

The new items included under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme are as follows:
  • Mower – mounted without conditioner;
  • Mower – mounted with conditioner;
  • Mower – trailed (with/without conditioner);
  • Mulcher mounted;
  • Mulcher/mower self-driven;
  • Straw chopper (mounted);
  • Straw chopper (trailed);
  • Haybob (combination of both raking and tedding);
  • Forage rakes;
  • Forage tedders;
  • Spring-tine grass harrow;
  • Chain harrow;
  • Inter-row cultivators;
  • Flame weeder;
  • Brush weeder;
  • Rotary-cultivator weeder;
  • CombCut weeder.

Farmers will be able to apply for these new investments under the next tranche of the TAMS scheme which is scheduled to open from next Monday, December 10.

Concluding, Minister Doyle added: “These additional investments are a further indication of my department’s commitment to the organic sector. I believe these new items will prove to be of invaluable assistance to organic farmers in Ireland.”