The Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, has launched a major investment by her department in upskilling Agricultural Consultant Association (ACA) advisors in organic farming. A training programme will be undertaken this Spring by farm advisors which will ensure nationwide advisory support is in place for those farmers who are interested in in joining the organic farming scheme.
Minister Hackett stated about upskilling agricultural advisors, “advisory support is key to ensuring farmers have the confidence to take the natural next step for many of them and become organic farmers. Research has shown that farmers trust agricultural advisors and this training will ensure farmers have access to support from those advisors they have a strong working relationship with and who have a good understanding of their farming system.”
She added, “the National organic strategy sets out the need to upskill our advisors in organic farming. This training will help us to meet our ambitious Programme for Government targets of substantially increasing the area of land farmed organically in Ireland. In this time of rising input costs I would encourage all farmers to give serious consideration to becoming an organic farmer.”
The investment will provide on-farm as well as classroom training for advisors, demonstration walks for farmers and an unprecedented level of expertise and advice at local level for interested farmers.
Minister Hackett said, “I am really excited about our collaboration with the ACA in this new training. I believe it is an important building block that will contribute to a whole new and positive era for Irish organic agriculture. The ACA will co-ordinate the roll out of this training. The ACA have agricultural advisors all over the country and they have a wealth of experience in providing agricultural advisory services to farmers. I look forward to seeing the final result of what this training will deliver for our farms and farmers.”
President of ACA, Tom Canning stated, “ACA and its members are delighted to be part of this important training, which will be valuable for the future of the agricultural sector. ACA are confident that there are significant opportunities for organic farming in Ireland, and this training will greatly assist towards our commitments to both our National and EU responsibilities under Farm 2 Fork climate change and related policies.”
He added, “I wish to sincerely thank Minister Hackett and ACA looks forward to working closely with her department and all other stakeholders to ensure the success of organic farming.”