Organic farming

Please note: The information provided below is a limited selection of the information available relating to this topic. You can find more information, publications and forms relating to this area on the main Department website here.

Organic Farming is a specific system of farming whose aim is to produce quality food in a manner beneficial to the environment and to wildlife. Organic farmers practice farming in accordance with standards, which have been formulated for crop and livestock production. The thrust of these standards is to develop a system of farming that co-exists with other systems, sustains soil fertility and protects the environment, wildlife and non-renewable resources.

Organic farmers can access a range of services and information from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. If you are an organic food consumer, the Department can help connect you with producers and also understand how this emerging market works.

Organic production and labelling of organic products is controlled by European and national regulations, i.e. European Council Regulation (EEC) No. 834/2007 as amended, which is backed up by Statutory Instruments Nos. 112 of 2004 and 698 of 2007. The EU legislation allows Member States to use private inspection bodies to carry out the inspection and licensing system of organic operators. Five certification bodies are approved to carry out this work in Ireland, i.e. Institute of Marketecology (IMO), Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), Organic Trust Limited, BDAA-Demeter UK and Global Trust Certification Limited.

Assistance for the development of the sector

Organic farming scheme

From 1994 to 2006, organic farmers have been supported by way of a Supplementary Measure under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Under the current Rural Development Programme, which runs from 2007 to 2013, there is a stand-alone Organic Farming Scheme. Organic Farmers were entitled to join REPS also until it was closed to new applications in July 2009, and are entitled to join the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) which was launched in March 2010.

The objective of the Organic Farming Scheme is to deliver enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits and to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food.

To be eligible for this measure, farmers must be licensed by one of the five certification bodies approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, must also register with the Organic Unit of the Department and farm organically for a minimum period of 5 years.

Schemes of grant-aid for the development of the organic sector

Development grants are available both to farmers and to processors under the Schemes of Grant Aid for the Development of the Organic Sector, which were approved under the National Development Plan, 2007-2013. The on-farm and off-farm Schemes provide grant aid for new equipment and facilities for production, preparation, grading, packing, storage, distribution and sale of organic products. Details are as follows:

Further information, documents and forms are available on our main website here or by contacting:

Organic Unit,
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
LoCall: 1890 200 509
Tel: 053 916 3400
Fax: 053 914 3965
Email: organics@agriculture.gov.ie