DISAPPOINTMENT FOR DRYSTOCK FARMERS AS ORGANICS SCHEME REOPENS  

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2 FEBRUARY 2021 

ICSA Organics chair Fergal Byrne has said the March reopening of the Organics Scheme is welcome but that we need to more in terms of access to the scheme for cattle and sheep farmers. “The opportunity for an additional 400-500 farmers to convert to organics farming is welcome, however priority will once again be given to those in the dairy, tillage and horticulture sectors at the expense of drystock farmers.”

Mr Byrne said it is clear more will need to be done in terms of future investment in the sector. “ICSA wants to see cattle and sheep farmers included in the movement towards organic farming, not actively discouraged. Our ambition must be to develop an Organics Scheme that would include far greater numbers of cattle and sheep farmers, in tandem with a drive to secure adequate markets for all organic produce.”

“We know that our beef and lamb producers are willing to get on board, but we also need to see a concerted effort from the Department of Agriculture, from Bord Bia and from our meat processors to drive this sector forward in any meaningful way.”

Mr Byrne said he would still encourage ICSA members to apply for the scheme, “As young farmers will also be prioritised for the scheme, young cattle and sheep farmers may have a better chance of being accepted. It may also be an option for some drystock farmers to consider diversifying some of their holding to tillage to increase their chances of being accepted into the scheme.”

ENDS