The DAFM has formally opened its new flagship €1.5 billion Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) to support 50,000 farm families.
ACRES, which forms part of Ireland’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan for 2023-2027, has been designed to “contribute” significantly to achieving improved biodiversity, climate, air and water quality outcomes, through both multi-functional prescription and results-based actions.
An underlying principle of ACRES, the DAFM has stated, is “the location of the right action in the right place to maximise and enhance the contribution of actions to these objectives”.
Farmers’ advisors can submit their applications to ACRES up to the closing date of November 21st, 2022.
This builds on the system’s opening in September to prepare the plans by advisers.
According to the DAFM, almost 700 advisors have access to the system, with over 3,200 farm sustainability plans already drafted and ready for submission.
McConalogue secured funding in the recent Budget to facilitate the intake of 30,000 participants in this tranche of ACRES.
Meanwhile, a participant in the ACRES Co-operation approach could receive up to €10,500 in a given year.
The ACRES Scheme
There are two approaches within the scheme:
- ACRES General: 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 prescription and result-based)
– The maximum annual payment to a participant in ACRES General is up to €7,311.
2) ACRES Co-operation, available to farmers in defined high-priority geographical areas. 8 ACRES Co-operation Project (‘CP’) zones.
- A farmer may only enter a contract for one of the approaches and may not participate in ACRES General and ACRES Co-operation.
- An ACRES application must be submitted, on behalf of the farmer, by an approved ACRES advisor.
- To submit an application on behalf of their farmer clients, an approved ACRES advisor must, for each of their clients:
- Submit an expression of interest/access agreement;
- Prepare and submit a Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP) on the Department’s Generic Land Management (GLAM) system, and
- Complete and submit the application to include relevant uploads.
Opening and closing dates:
- ACRES opened for applications online on Monday, October 17th, 2022;
- The ACRES application system will remain open until 23.59 pm on November 21st, 2022;
- Contracts to begin on January 1st, 2023.
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