Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D., has announced the re-opening of the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) with immediate effect. The OFS is a scheme under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 to support organic production on Irish farms.

On announcing the re-opening of the Scheme, Minister Doyle stated that

“I established a Strategy Group earlier this year tasked with developing a strategy for the development of the Organic Sector for the period up to 2025. The Terms of Reference of the Group included assessing the case for a reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme. This Group have now recommended the re-opening of the OFS on a targeted basis. This is based on market demand and supply deficits in organic horticulture, cereals and dairy.  Following receipt of this assessment, I have now decided to re-open the Organic Farming Scheme with immediate effect.

This will be funded through savings identified in the current OFS budget to facilitate new entrants. Mindful of the Group’s recommendation, a ranking and selection process will be put in place that will give priority to the areas that are deemed to be in deficit i.e. horticulture cereals and dairy.

Minister Doyle concluded that “The Organic Farming Scheme is a key support measure that will assist farmers in their conversion to organic farming and will allow them to avail of the growing market opportunities that clearly exist for organic food. The Irish organic sector is one which continues to go from strength to strength. I expect to be receiving the Organic Strategy Report by the end of the year which will set out the development of the Strategy to 2025”.