Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has confirmed funding to the tune of €200m for 30,000 places in the DAFM’s new flagship agri environment scheme, ACRES.
Currently, the DAFM is transitioning from GLAS, the ongoing agri-environmental scheme, which is finishing this year, to ACRES, which will begin in January 2023 under the next CAP.
ACRES, the “largest ever” agri-environment scheme, will use a habitats-based approach, through both prescription and results-based actions, to contribute to improving biodiversity, climate, air and water quality outcomes.
At a Budget 2023 briefing earlier this morning, the minister confirmed that ACRES will open for applications at the end of the year.
He told media that his objective is “to get as many farm families as possible into that scheme for the full of next year”.
He explained: “Our projection is that 30,000 is the infrastructural capacity in terms of getting applications in and farmers lined up.”
“That is going to be an ask because there is a lot of work ongoing at the moment between farm advisors and their farmer customers in relation to actually making applications.”
“So, I have provided for 30,000. ACRES will go up to 50,000 at full membership. However, we want to try and get as many in as possible at the outset. My hope is that we will get to 30,000, but I think that will stretch everyone.”
GLAS balancing payments
He also confirmed that the DAFM will issue balancing payments of circa €40m, possibly in May 2023, for farmers finishing GLAS contracts.
The minister outlined that he is also aware that there will be farmers exiting GLAS, that will not necessarily be in ACRES next year. “That is something that we are reflecting on in relation to the gap year for those.”
Farm organisations have expressed concerns that ACRES’ funding allocation may “not allow all potential applications into the scheme”.
You can read more by reading this news article on That’s Farming.