ACRES – DAFM Scheme
The new national agri-environment scheme, which the DAFM proposed as part of Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan (CSP), will be known as the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (‘ACRES’).
That is what Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue told the media during a press briefing earlier this afternoon (Tuesday, June 21st, 2022).
ACRES, which is the first scheme that the DAFM will deliver under the €9.8b CAP Strategic Plan, will target 50,000 farm families.
They will receive support directly under this scheme to deliver “measurable” climate, biodiversity, and water quality gains.
The minister confirmed that Ireland has yet to receive approval from the EU Commission for its draft CSP. Therefore, the proposals may be subject to change.
The DAFM proposes that, like GLAS, all farmers will have the opportunity to apply for ACRES.
There are, however, two entry approaches in the proposed new scheme namely:
- An ACRES General approach, available nationally (outside of the high priority geographical area as defined for the ACRES Co-operation approach below), which offers a range of measures (both targeted and general); and
- An ACRES co-operation approach, available to farmers in defined high-priority geographical areas. A cross-departmental working group has defined eight areas in the country as having particular environmental characteristics. Farmers in those areas may engage in the new AECM through cooperation project teams.
All farmers who apply under the Basic Payment Scheme will have the opportunity to apply for ACRES.
In the DAFM’s view, both approaches offer “attractive” rates of payments. It says that the location of their land will determine what approach they are eligible for.
Furthermore, the government has previously committed to total funding for the CSP 2023-2027 of €9.83 billion.
According to the DAFM, the total national funding and the level of co-financing are both “significantly” higher than applied under the previous CAP programme.
Over a seven-year period, the funding is almost €1.2 billion higher, an increase of nearly 30%, over the 2014-2020 RDP.
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