More ‘am­bi­tion’ needed on or­ganic beef and sheep, say hill farm­ers

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS -

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.

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