Irish farmers looking to switch to organic farming will receive a boost as the country’s Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced an investment of €150,000 to upskill Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) advisors in organic farming. This funding builds on the success of a similar program in 2022 that enabled over 100 ACA advisors to receive training from an organic specialist and host farm walks, resulting in a record number of farmers switching to organic farming. The increased level of support provided in 2023 will ensure that the ACA appoints a second specialist advisor and nationwide advisory support is in place for farmers interested in joining the organic farming scheme.
According to Noel Feeney, President of ACA, its members are pleased to continue the essential training program, which is vital for the agricultural industry’s future. ACA is confident about the expanding prospects for organic farming in Ireland. This training program will significantly contribute to fulfilling our responsibilities at the National and EU levels, including Farm 2 Fork, climate change, and related policies. He also expressed his gratitude towards Minister Hackett, and the ACA is looking forward to working closely with her department and other stakeholders to ensure the triumph of organic farming.
Minister Hackett said that this investment is a significant step towards meeting the ambitious Programme for Government and Climate Action Plan targets of substantially increasing the area of land farmed organically in Ireland to 10% by 2030. The investment will provide for two specialist organic advisors within the ACA, on-farm, classroom training for advisors, and organic farm walks with unprecedented expertise and advice available locally for interested farmers. The ACA will coordinate the rollout of this training, which is an essential building block toward a new and positive era for Irish organic agriculture.