Organic Farming

Organic Farming is a specific system of farming that aims 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. The use of pesticides and herbicides is prohibited (www.organic-trust.org)

In 2015 there were 1,787 operators (around 2% of land) under organic production in Ireland. This is much lower than the average in Europe, which is 5.9% of agricultural land used for organic farming. Romania and Malta are the only countries with less land designated as organic than Ireland. Over the past decade over 400,000 hectares of land per year in the EU were converted to organic farming. For full European data, see the EU Organic webpage and EuroStat

Organic farming

 

Farmers interested in converting to organic status should contact the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), which provides certification for farmers, growers, processors and retailers (www.iofga.org). Consumers purchasing products that claim to be organic should check that it carries the required certification.

The Department of Agriculture has a dedicated section on organic farming.

The majority of organic milk produced in Ireland is sold through Glenisk, which is run by the Cleary family from Killeigh in Co Offaly. Fresh milk and yogurt are the main products of this award winning company (www.glenisk.com). Other major users of organic milk are cheesemakers, such as Kate Carmody’s Beal Organic Cheese, Ralph Haslam’s Mossfield (www.mossfield.ie).


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