Agricultural advisors will have an additional four weeks to complete ACRES scorecard submissions, as a result of an extension granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today (Friday, July 28th, 2023).
The new closing date will be Friday, September 29th, 2023, the DAFM has confirmed in a statement to www.thatsfarming.com.
The Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) is Ireland’s new agri-environment climate scheme under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan. This €1.5 billion flagship agri-environment scheme is a farmer-friendly scheme with a capacity for up to 50,000 farmers.
According to the DAFM, to date, 46,000 farmers have joined the scheme, with over 1 million hectares of lands in the scheme.
Under the scheme, result-based payments link the nature quality of the habitats on a farm to the environmental payment.
Each field is scored out of ten using a scorecard that captures the environmental quality of the habitat, which reflects past and current management.
In a statement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said:
“My department, together with the ACRES co-operation teams, has already trained over 600 advisers on submitting scorecards and completed scorecards are being submitted to my department daily.”
“Just under 40% of all scorecards have been submitted already and this is testament to the commitment of the advisors and farmers to this task which is the first time the scoring of agricultural land has been carried out to such a scale.”
“Given the importance of getting these baseline scores submitted in this first year of the scheme and acknowledging the extra workload it creates for advisors, I have decided to extend this deadline for the submission of completed ACRES scorecards by an additional four weeks.”
“This will allow advisors to plan their work over the next eight weeks. It is essential now that all advisors continue to engage with their ACRES clients and work to have the necessary scorecards completed as soon as possible,” the minister added.
The Minister also announced significant funding to support the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) for investment in upskilling their members on the work of the ACRES scheme.
The minister added, “As with many of my department’s schemes, advisors are a key enabler in the implementation of ACRES.”
“This investment in the ACA will allow them to work with their members and ensure they have the necessary resources to make the scheme a success,” he concluded.