Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Pippa Hackett, has published a video showing how a farm on the Wexford / Carlow border is managing its conversion to organic dairy farming and the benefits of going down the organics route.
In the short four minute video (see below), farm owner Marie-Pascale Pollard and farm manager Kevin O’Hanlon explain to Minister Hackett how they came to the decision to go organic and what the implications of the decision are.
Speaking of what she saw, Minister Hackett said: “In the very week we published the Climate Action Plan, I hope many dairy farmers will have a look at the video and see what’s possible.
“I think Marie-Pascale and Kevin explain what they are doing and why, really well, and I certainly found their operation absolutely fascinating.
“The multi-species sward that the cattle were grazing was luscious and their sileage and feed operation was impressive, showing just how quickly they are going to be completely self-sustainable,” the minister added.
Benefits of organics
Referring to another intensive dairy farm she also visited recently, where the farmer, while not fully organic, uses no chemical fertiliser at all, Minister Hackett continued: “I really believe the future for many intensive dairy farmers can be to go organic.
“Stocking numbers may reduce a little, but input costs will come down hugely, and farmers will also have the satisfaction of knowing they are farming with nature.”
The minister said that kind of farming fits well with the Climate Action Plan too, given its focus on reducing the use of chemical fertilisers and on supporting organic farming.
“It is also the case that consumers are seeking out organic produce, so taking this path can be a win / win for everyone.”
Organic farming in Ireland received a significant boost with the recent announcement that €256 million is to be injected into the sector over the lifespan of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2023-2027.
The CAP Strategic Plan (CSP), published lashed month, outlined a range of proposed Pillar I and Pillar II funding allocations.
The organic farming scheme falls under the latter and would see organic farming receive a 500% increase.