More ‘ambition’ needed on organic beef and sheep, say hill farmers
MORE ambition is needed for the sheep and beef sector under the new organic strategy for 2019-2025, according to hill farmers.
The strategy outlines increased targets for all commodity sectors with the exception of sheep, the INHFA pointed out.
“This is a major disappointment for sheep farmers that need every marketing advantage in a post-Brexit market,” said INHFA vice-president, Henry O’Donnell.
Mr O’Donnell also took issue with the organic requirements for stocking rates. Currently in order to qualify for the standard rate of payment under Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) there is a minimum stocking rate of 0.5/ LU/ha, with payment rates reduced pro-rata for farmers below this level.
He said that there is no payment for commonage land, which he described as “effectively organic”.
Just 1.8pc of Ireland’s agricultural produce is certified organic, which is the second lowest level in the EU. Ireland has 1,800 organic farmers.