Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. has formally opened the €1.5 billion Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES).
Farmers’ applications to ACRES can be submitted by their advisors up to the closing date of 21st November. This builds on the opening of the system in September for the preparation of the plans by advisers.
Formally opening the new agri-environment scheme, the Minister said, “I am pleased to formally open ACRES and to allow farmers’ applications be submitted. This ambitious scheme delivers for both our environmental priorities and to support farm family incomes. As contracts are to begin on 1st January 2023 and to help prepare as much work as possible in advance, my Department has trained advisors and published a significant amount of information to guide both farmers over the last few months. Almost 700 advisors have access to the system with over 3,200 Farm Sustainability Plans already drafted and ready for submission.”
ACRES, which forms part of Ireland’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan for the period 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 is the location of the right action in the right place to maximise and enhance the contribution of actions to these objectives.
Noting the Government’s commitment of €1.5 billion to ACRES over its duration, which is the largest amount ever committed to an agri-environment scheme, the Minister added: “I secured funding in the recent Budget to facilitate the intake of 30,000 participants in this tranche of ACRES. This equates to a significant amount of money as the maximum annual payment to a participant in ACRES General is up to €7,311 while a participant in the ACRES Co-operation approach could receive up to €10,500 in a given year. I encourage all farmers and advisors to serious look at the scheme before the closing date on 21st November.
“I want ACRES to deliver for our farm families as well as the environment so I am looking forward to seeing this ambitious scheme roll out over the coming weeks and months.”