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GOOD NEWS FOR THE ORGANICS SECTOR AS SCHEME REOPENS – ICSA

Nov 21, 2018 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

20 NOVEMBER 2018

ICSA Organics chairman Fergal Byrne has welcomed the reopening of the Organics Farming Scheme (OFS) on a targeted basis. Commenting Mr Byrne said, “During our discussions as part of the Organics Strategy Group it was decided to reopen the scheme in a way that would address a current output shortfall in certain sectors. In this regard, priority will initially be given to the tillage, horticulture and dairy sectors.”

While the number of applications accepted into the scheme will be determined by the funding, a ranking and selection process utilising a scoring system will be employed to conclude which candidates will ultimately be admitted.

Preference will be given as follows:

Previous or existing OFS operators: 5 marks

Sector: Horticulture 50 marks, Tillage 50 marks, Dairy 45 marks, Beef 10 marks (Max 50 marks).

Total Conversion Vs Partial Conversion: 0.5 mark per 1% of land converted (Max 10 marks).

Large Operators: 1 mark per ha owned, 0.5 marks for leased land (Max 50 marks).

Mixed Farming: Operators with arable and forage on BPS (Max 10 marks).

The scheme is designed to assist farmers through their conversion to organic farming and covers a minimum five year period. Payments of up to €220 per hectare can be drawn down during the conversion period and up to €170 per hectare when full organic status is achieved. “For those already in the scheme, this provides reassurance that similar payments will be available for all sectors post 2020,” said Mr Byrne.

“While it is disappointing that the beef and sheep categories will not be at the forefront of this round of admissions to the scheme, the marking system reflects the under supply in certain categories while demonstrating the need to focus on finding additional markets for beef and lamb.”

The closing date for this round of applications is Wednesday 19 December. All applicants must reach a minimum ranking of 25 marks to be deemed eligible for consideration for inclusion in the scheme, however the submission of a valid application will not guarantee entry to the scheme. It is also noted that selection, prioritisation and scoring criteria may vary for each new application period.

ENDS

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