€150,000 in funding has been announced for upskilling Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) advisors in organic farming.
A collection of the latest news, views and analysis from the farming desk on the topic of Agribusiness and technology.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the support provided in 2023 will allow a second specialist advisor to be appointed by the ACA, and ensure nationwide advisory support is in place for farmers who are interested in joining the Organic Farming Scheme.
In 2022, department funding enabled over 100 ACA advisors to attend training, receive the support of an organic specialist, and host farm walks.
"Farmers can see for themselves the opportunities that are there for them in organic farming," Minister of State Pippa Hackett said as she announced the funding on Thursday.
"Research has shown that farmers trust agricultural advisors, and this training will ensure farmers now have access to organic farming support.
"Already, 2023 has been a pivotal one for organic farming as we have accepted record numbers of farmers into the Organic Farming Scheme, and the ACA has been instrumental in bringing organic farming to the forefront as a real opportunity for Irish farmers."
The National Organic Strategy sets out a need to upskill advisors in organic farming.
According to Ms Hackett, this training will help in meeting Programme for Government and Climate Action Plan targets of substantially increasing the area of land farmed organically in Ireland to 10% by 2030.
The €256m budget secured for the Organic Farming Scheme was a five-fold increase on the previous scheme.
With this level of funding available, Ms Hackett said she "would encourage all farmers to think carefully about the resilience of their farming system and consider becoming an organic farmer".
The investment will provide for two specialist organic advisers within the ACA, on-farm and classroom training for advisors, and organic farm walks with expertise and advice available at local level for interested farmers.
ACA president Noel Feeney added that this training "will be invaluable for the future of the agricultural sector".