The new Acres program has been described as “far from a new reps” and aims to “dissuade people from farming”.
Michael Biggins, chair of FA Rural Development, said if Acres’ budget is not improved and more flexibility is provided for actions within the programme, it has little in common with Reps.
“As currently proposed, Acres is restrictive and complicated,” he said. “It will impose higher compliance costs on farmers, resulting in lower income. The program is designed to discourage people from farming.
“To meet the average payment, farmers need to tie up more land for lower production levels compared to previous systems.”
He also said all farmers must be accepted into the program and those applying in 2023 must be paid in the same year.
“There are real income concerns if there is a lag between Glas and Acres caused by the tranche approach. It is totally unacceptable not to include all participants in the program in 2023.”
No farmer, he said, should be left without a 2023 environmental program payment.
This can be done either by rolling over 12,000 Glas 3 participants for 2023, or alternatively by paying an upfront payment in 2023 for Tranche 2 Acres participants, similar to how Reps payments have been in the past.”
It is proposed that up to 20,000 farmers in eight areas identified by the ministry could receive an acres payment of up to €10,500, with an average payment of €7,400. You will participate in the program through collaborative project teams. The remaining farmers would enter the general option and receive a maximum payment of around €7,311, with an average payment of €5,000.
He said Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP), a key measure for farmers in Glas, has been severely curtailed, leaving farmers with a choice between a prescription measure with much lower payment rates or an outcome-based measure, which will also mean reduced payments for the action.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/acres-scheme-designed-to-discourage-farming-41898061.html Acres program aims to discourage farming