- What counts as organic farming
- How long it takes to get certified as an organic producer
- Apply for funding to convert to organic farming
- Get a certificate that proves you’re a certified organic farmer
- Get your certificate renewed
You must register with an organic control body if you’re going to produce, prepare, store, import or sell organic products in Northern Ireland.
You’re breaking the law if you call a food product ‘organic’ if it hasn’t been inspected and certified by one of the 6 approved organic control bodies operating in NI.
You’ll have to complete application, inspection and certification steps to become certified to produce or process organic products. You can download information packs from more than one of the approved CBs or talk to them to find out more.
Find out about organic food inspections and tests
Principles of organic farming
Producing organically means respecting the rules on organic farming. These rules are designed to promote environment protection, maintain biodiversity and build consumer trust in organic products. These regulations govern all areas of organic production and are based on a number of key principles, such as:
- prohibition of the use of GMOs;
- forbidding the use of ionising radiation;
- limiting the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides;
- prohibiting the use of hormones and restrict the use of antibiotics and only when necessary for animal health.
How long it takes to get certified as an organic producer
Usually it’ll take you 2 years to get certified as an organic producer. It might take shorter or longer depending on your situation, for example:
- 3 years for established orchards of perennial soft, top and vine fruits
- 12 months for grass for pig and poultry grazing if no banned products have been applied to soil over the previous 12 months
- 2 years for land intended for ruminant grazing and annual crops
Contact an organic control body to find out what you need to do.
Apply for funding to convert to organic farming
You can apply for financial support for converting to organic farming through the Environmental Faming Scheme (EFS). Find out your options for the Environmental Farming Scheme and how to apply.
EFS Organic conversion options
Find out about eligibility and requirements for converting your land to these Environmental Farming Scheme (Wider) Stand Alone Options:
- Organic Conversion Arable (OCA)
- Organic Conversion Grassland (OCG)
- Organic Conversion Horticulture (OCH)
- Organic Conversion Horticulture – Top Fruit (OCT)
EFS Organic land management options
Find out about eligibility and requirements for these options of managing your land organically with these Environmental Farming Scheme (Wider) Stand Alone Options:
- Organic Management Arable (OMA)
- Organic Management Grassland (OMG)
- Organic Management Horticulture (OMH)
- Organic Management Horticulture - Top Fruit (OMT)
Get a certificate that proves you’re a certified organic farmer
You’ll be sent a certificate by your organic control body after you’ve registered and passed an inspection.
Your certificate is valid for 1 year.
Get your certificate renewed
When it’s near the time for your certificate to be renewed, your organic control body will inspect your farm. Your certificate will be renewed if it passes the inspection.
Contact your organic control body to find out more, such as when you’ll be inspected, how your certificate will be renewed and how much it might cost.