Funding for Organic Farmers in Northern Ireland
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The information below is from the previous application window and is published here for reference only.
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Northern Ireland’s Environmental Farming Scheme provides financial support to farmers and land managers to carry out environmentally beneficial farming practices on agricultural land, including funding for farmers to convert and maintain their land to organic standards. The Governmental Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) scheme’s application window is expected to open on 18th August and close on the 11th September 2020 for agreements starting on 1st January 2021.
Click on the links below to jump to the sections that interest you the most:
- Live webinar: Opportunities in organic
- Why consider organic conversion
- Rates available for farmers
- 2020 key dates
- How to apply
- Get in touch
A growing market
The UK organic market has entered its ninth year of consecutive growth and, with organic sales reaching their highest ever value, the market is expected to achieve more than 50% growth in a decade by the close of 2020.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on all farming sectors, some positive and some disruptive, however during the pandemic sales of organic food saw their highest growth in 3 years increasing by 6.1% year on year, which is almost double the growth of non – organic food and drink products (3.2%).
The Soil Association’s Organic Farm Income Report shows that net farm income is often higher on organic farms than non-organic farms due to lower costs of production and higher environmental support payments.
Financial support for the delivery of public goods
Organic farming is recognised and rewarded by the government for its delivery of a range of public goods including increased biodiversity, improved soil quality and climate stability.
The Environmental Farming Scheme offer increased rates for farmers as they convert their farm to organic, providing a financial boost during the transition period.
Ongoing management payments incentivise the continuation of organic farming systems for land that is fully converted to organic production.
The rates available for organic conversion and management differ by farm type and size. Agreements are for 5 years. Conversion rates are available for farmers for 2 – 3 years, followed by a period of subsequent organic management payments up to a total of five years. Farmers who have already completed their conversion period can apply for a 5 year agreement at the management rate
|Conversion rates: Years 1-2 (or 3 for top fruit)||Subsequent years: Up to 5 years|
|Organic Grassland||£144 per ha up to 60ha then reduced to £45/ha||£53/ha up to 60ha then reduced to £20/ha|
|Organic Arable||£149 per ha up to 60ha then reduced to £45/ha||£53 /ha up to 60ha then reduced to £20/ha|
|Organic horticulture||£358 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £149/ha||£197 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £53/ha|
|Organic horticulture top fruit||£358 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £149/ha||£197 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £53/ha|
|Years 1 - 5|
|Organic arable||£53 per ha up to 60ha then reduced to £20/ha|
|Organic grassland||£53 per ha up to 60ha then reduced to £20/ha|
|Organic horticulture||£197 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £53/ha|
|Organic horticulture top fruit||£197 per ha up to 6ha then reduced to £53/ha|
Application dates: The application window is expected to open on 18th August and close on 11th September 2020.
Agreement start date: The agreement will start on 1st January 2021 and last for 5 years.
- To be eligible farmers and landowners must have at least 3 hectares of land and a DAERA category one or two Business ID.
- You must certify with a registered organic certification body, such as Soil Association Certification, have started conversion by 1st January 2021 and maintain your organic registration through to the end of the agreement.
- Organic Conversion payments are not available on land where your business has previously been entered for, or received any Organic Conversion payments under a previous EU organic payment scheme.
- DAERA application: Applications must be submitted directly with the DAERA via their website where you’ll find links to general information, guidance and application instructions for the Environmental Farming Scheme. Organic conversion and maintenance agreements are included under the wider stand alone options. You must complete your application by the 11th September 2020.
- Organic Certification: Businesses must be registered with an approved organic certification body prior to agreement start date and for the duration of the agreement. Get in touch with our friendly and experienced certification team to find out more about conversion and certification.
If you choose to certify with Soil Association Certification, we offer discounted conversion fees to support you through your transition period. Find out more about the application process and fees.
Get in touch
Our expert farming certification team can talk you through how organic conversion and certification could work on your farm.GET IN TOUCH