Farming/Scheme and Grant Aid

Organic Farming Scheme

The Organic Farming Scheme is operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and funded through the CAP 2023-2027. The 5-year scheme is designed to financially support organic farmers. Grant aid for farm infrastructure and equipment is also available for different organic farming enterprises under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme.

Interested In Converting?

Understand what you need to know about the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) and Organic Capital Investment Scheme (OCIS) as well as the different steps in the conversion process by reading our straight-forward information and guidance.

Remember you can contact the Irish Organic Association today by telephone 090 643 3680 or email to discuss any questions you may have about your prospective application that you can’t find here.

Applications for Organic Farming Scheme are open in Tranches, set by by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Potential new entrants, however, can join the Irish Organic Association and convert their farm to organic at any time.

You can also apply to the Irish Organic Association by downloading and completing the application forms and sending them to us by email or by post.

Organic Farming Scheme Payment Rates

Organic Farming Scheme Payment Rates

The Organic Farming Scheme supports farmers with per hectare payments as well as a participation payment to cover additional administrative costs annually (see table above). If you wish to learn more about the potential payments for your farm you can use the Department’s Organic Payments Calculator.

All organic farmers and growers who are certified organic can avail of a Participation Payment under the Organic Farming Scheme. This is an annual payment of €2,000 for the first year of conversion and €1,400 thereafter for organic licence holders to cover administration and training costs etc.

Additional information on the Organic Farming Scheme can be found on the DAFM website.

How to Apply?


Complete our Application Form and Conversion Plan to register with the Irish Organic Association (IOA)


Fill out the first page of the ORG1 fom and include it in your IOA Application


Register for the Department’s Organic Farming Scheme via (following IOA notification)

An organic farmland conversion typically take 2 years from the day you start. Once completed you will be awarded full symbol statusand can market your products as organic.

Grant Aid for Organic Farm Infrastructure

The Organic Capital Investment Scheme part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme 3 (TAMS 3) provides grant aid of up to 60% for organic farmers participating in the Organic Farming Scheme. It supports cost towards farm buildings as well as specialised equipment and machinery.

Other licensed organic operators (not particpating in the Organic Farming Scheme) are supported at a rate of 40%. The minimum amount of investment eligible is €2,000 per application, with a maximum investment ceiling per holding of €90,000, increasing to €160,000 for Farm Partnerships registered with the Department. Other TAMS 3 supports are also available to organic farmers, subject to eligibility.

For further information on the Organic Capital Investment Scheme can be found on the DAFM website.

Are you a small producer or new entrant to farming?

Farmers and growers who have not previously participated in the Organic Farming Scheme will need to:

  1. Register with DAFM/Regional Veterinary Office to get a herd number when applying. (This is necessary even if you do not have livestock as it currently acts as an identification number), and;
  2. Complete a Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS) on-line application via the portal.

Please note that growers under 1 hectare can also apply for the Scheme if they can prove that they have a commercial business.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section you will find information on the most commonly asked questions about converting to organic farming.

Organic farming tractor icon

Organic Farming (General)

All farmers must undergo a two-year conversion period and farm to the Organic Standards in order to market their produce organically. First the farmer submits their application with all relevant supporting documentation (prepared by an advisor or the farmer). The Irish Organic Association will then inspect the holding, livestock and paperwork and issue the farmer with a conversion licence for two years. Once you have your full organic licence you can then sell produce into the organic sector. Farmers undergo an inspection annually to ensure that they are in compliance with the Organic Standards
Partial conversion is allowed, however, the organic area needs to be physically, financially and operationally separated from any non-organic land on the same holding. A partial organic conversion may be an option for some farmers who have different enterprises e.g., livestock and tillage or wish to convert separate enterprises on a phased basis.
All synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides are prohibited from use in organic farming. Instead organic farmers use slurry and farmyard manures and crop rotation for fertility. Contact the Irish Organic Association for a list of permitted substances.
No, these animals will never become organic however following the appropriate conversion period they can produce organic stock and/or produce e.g., organic calves, lambs or organic milk. Current stock are generally retained for breeding, and producing eggs and dairy.
Operators must comply with the Nitrates Directive and cannot exceed 170kg N/ha in the calendar year. For most producers, this should not be of concern. It can be possible to achieve stocking rates of 1.0 to 1.6 LU/ha on drystock organic farms depending on the soil type and grassland management. To be eligible for the Organic Farming Scheme farmers must maintain a minimum stocking rate – see Organic Farming Scheme terms and conditions.
Simultaneous land and livestock conversion is the normal method of conversion. This means as soon as organic status is awarded to the land (after two years), lambs conceived and calves born three months after the initial conversion period started receive full organic status and can be sold as organic.
Organic and non-organic stock of the same species cannot be present on the same holding or production unit. This is known as Parallel Production which is prohibited in organic farming. However, where no livestock are present on the farm (e.g., stockless tillage) or stock are not of the same species, non-organic livestock can graze on the same holding for up to 180 days a year under a grazing agreement. The land must continue to be managed according to the Organic Standards during that period. Organic livestock are not permitted to graze on non-organic farmland or they will lose their organic status.
In most cases the answer is no, however, there are some exemptions made only for replacement female or male breeding stock, contact the Irish Organic Association for more information. Most farmers breed their own replacements.
Yes. For all ruminants, a minimum of 60% of the dry matter intake (DMI) must either be fresh green food or un- milled forage grown to Organic Standards and produced from the holding or linked holdings. Genetically modified feed or ingredients are not allowed in any format either in feed or minerals.
There are some dedicated organic marts regionally, see our marts section of our website for more details. Many farmers purchase directly from other organic farmers. Additionally, stock can be bought or sold on Ireland’s Organic Trading Hub.
To be compliant with Nitrates Directive your stocking rate should not exceed 170kg N/ha per calendar year. Organic farmers are subject to the same application opening/closing dates under Nitrates. This is not an issue for the majority of organic farmers. Farmyard manure and slurry are the main organic manures used as synthetic fertiliser is not allowed. Farmers can work with other farmers to import/export organic manures.
Grasslands are regularly soil sampled to monitor nutrients. A soil analysis (completed within the last 5 years) is required as part of your application. Nitrogen-fixing legumes, such as red and white clover are used to build nitrogen. Multi-species swards are also widely used. Regular soil sampling, liming and application of organic slurry and farmyard manure and other approved products are encouraged to ensure adequate pH and nutrient levels are maintained.
Producers are required to source certified organic seed where available, if seed is not available derogations may be granted before sowing. Seed companies in Ireland supply a range of organic seeds and suppliers in the UK and mainland Europe can also ship seeds to Ireland. For further information on sources of organic seed the Irish Organic Association Suppliers List.

Organic Farming Scheme

The Organic Farming Scheme is a 5-year scheme operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It aims to support farmers converting or maintaining their farmland under organic production and is funded under Ireland’s new CAP Strategic Plan.
The Department intends to run the scheme annually over the duration of the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027. The next tranche is expected to open for 6-8 weeks in 2024 (dates to be confirmed).
All farmers (in-conversion or fully converted) who are part of the Organic Farming Scheme avail of the above payment rates (since 01 January 2023). You can learn about the potential payments for your farm using the Department’s Organic Payments Calculator
The most recent eligibility conditions are set out in the Department’s Terms and Conditions for the Organic Farming Scheme 2024. A minimum area of 3 ha is required for most enterprises (1 ha for horticulture, however, smaller growers may also be considered where it can be demonstrated to the Department that it is a commercial enterprise). The farmer or grower should be registered with an organic certification body such as the Irish Organic Association and have access to the at the time of applying for the scheme.
There are three straightforward steps in the application process.
  1. Complete our Application Form and Conversion Plan
  2. Fill out the first page of the ORG1 form and include it in your IOA application
  3. Register your Organic Farming Scheme application with the Department via*
Other supporting documentation is required such as soil analysis results and maps indicated in the application form. Applicants can be made via our Online Application Form or by downloading and completing the forms. *Once we have received your Application Form and ORG 1 Form we will notify the Department to enable you to register via which you need to do before the closing date.
New applicants begin their conversion from a defined period to be confirmed by the Department. Farmers can choose to convert before the Scheme opens. However, Scheme applications must be lodged within 4 months of the organic licence starting to avail of the full 2-year organic conversion payment rates.
Advisors are available to assist farmers who wish to convert to organic farming or farmers can choose to complete the application process and conversion plan themselves. We can help to identify advisors in your area if required.
As part of the Organic Farming Scheme, you must also complete a 25-hour Organic Production Principles Course within 9 months of entering the Scheme. For example, a farmer who joined the Scheme on 01 January 2024 must have submitted a successful training certificate of completion to DAFM by 01 October 2024. The course is offered by various providers around the country, including Teagasc and the National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS).
Lease agreements must be in place for the duration of your Organic Farming Scheme contract. An agreement of at least 5 years is therefore required to apply. A copy of the lease should be enclosed with your application. If the land is rented please enclose a letter confirming annual first refusal from the landlord.
The new TAMS Organic Capital Investment Scheme will provide grant aid of 60% to organic farmers from 2023. This includes funding for buildings and approved machinery. Organic farmers also have priority access to ACRES – the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme. The new Protein/Cereal Mix Crop Scheme may also be particularly relevant for many organic farmers.
Organic farmers generally have the same access to all other CAP support and schemes e.g., BPS/BISS, eco-schemes, TAMS, ACRES, Straw Incorporation Measure, and the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme where they meet the eligibility criteria.
A commonage agreement outlining the location, grazing animals and duration and committing to relevant requirements etc must be signed before use. Commonage area is not eligible for organic payment, but farmers can avail of a commonage payment with organic priority access to ACRES – the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme.
Land parcels declared as agroforestry under BISS can avail of an organic drystock payment. Eligible farmers who choose to establish different agroforestry systems (silvopasture, silvoarable and forest gardening) under DAFM Forestry Grants and Schemes can also qualify for an organic farming payment. Other afforestation grants and premiums are open to organic farmers as well as tree planting actions under ACRES – the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme.
If you join the OFS you sign up for a five-year contract. If you leave before your contract ends then any organic payments received must be paid back to the Department.

Organic Production Principles Course

As part of the Organic Farming Scheme, participants must also complete a 25-hour Organic Production Principles Course within a certain period. The course is offered by various providers around the country, including Teagasc and the National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS)

Other Grant Schemes

Organic farmers can also take advantage of other schemes and supports offered by the Department including priority access to ACRES – the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme