Esteemed speakers Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) organic specialists Mary Lynch and Julian Pawlowski will share their expertise and insights during these informative sessions.

The aim of organic farming is to produce food of optimum quality in a manner beneficial to the environment and biodiversity.

There are currently in the region of 4,000 organic producers in the country. Organic farming has a major role to play in meeting the ever-increasing challenges of climate change and the provision of a sustainable supply of food.

Organic farmers are viable by lowering their input costs and, if possible, getting a higher price for their produce, plus availing of grant aid through the Organic Farming Scheme.

Who should consider organic farming?

Switching to farming organically is possible for all farmers if they have a commitment to adhering to the organic rule, but it is most suited to the following farmers:

  • If you are using less than 100kg N/ha per year of artificial nitrogen, as clover swards can replace the artificial nitrogen.
  • If you are stocked at less than 100kg N/ha, you may be able to maintain this stocking rate with clover swards.
  • If your livestock is compliant with the organic standards or you are willing to make it compliant.
  • You are willing to grow fertility building crops with a crop rotation.
  • You want to produce food without the use of artificial fertilisers or chemicals.
  • Registering and converting

    The first step in considering conversion to organic farming is to contact your local farm consultant (ACA or Teagasc adviser) and/or an organic certification body (OCB).

    The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) acts as the competent authority governing the certification of growers or farmers as organic producers.

    DAFM has approved a number of OCBs. On-farm inspections by the OCB and DAFM constitute part of the certification process and the inspections are usually once per year.

    Organic farmers must adhere to standards that set down the rules for organic production and they must be registered with one of the certification bodies to sell their produce as organic and to avail of Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) grants. The closing date for the OFS is 8 December.

    Organic certification bodies

    The OCBs provide an inspection and certification service for all organic production units in Ireland. They have been designated and are regulated by the organic unit of DAFM and are responsible for upholding organic standards as defined by the EU.

    They are:

    1. IOA (Irish Organic Association), 16A Irish Carraig, Golden Island, Athlone. Tel: 090-643 3680. Email: info@irishoa.ie. Web: www.irishorganicassociation.ie.

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    2. Organic Trust Clg, Unit M4, Naas Town Centre, Dublin Road, Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland, W91 F7X3. Tel/Fax 045-882 377. Email: info@organtrust.ie or www.organictrust.ie.

    Converting to organic

    Farmers interested in converting to organic must prepare a plan which involves a detailed description of:

  • Management practices on the farm.
  • The changes required on the farm to be compliant with the organic rules.
  • Soil analysis and soil fertility plan including use of FYM and slurry.
  • Livestock housing plan.
  • Animal health plan (in consultation with your veterinary surgeon).
  • Land/crop rotation plan.
  • Further information can be viewed regarding:

  • Welfare and housing.
  • Methods of crop protection.
  • Veterinary and livestock nutrition.
  • Purchase of livestock.
  • Converting to organic production methods.
  • Advantage of organic farming.
  • Disadvantages of organic farming.
  • Financial supports.
  • Organic farming scheme.
  • Eligible persons.
  • Payments.
  • Tams – organic.
  • Advice, training and support.
  • Visit our website www.aca.ie or

    click here for more information.

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