What is ACRES?
1.5 billion has been allocated to this flagship agri-environment scheme, which will succeed the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).
Will the scheme be the same for everyone?
No, some farmers participate in a general scheme while others follow a collaborative approach.
What’s the difference between them?
■ The general approach available nationally (high priority outside the geographical area) offers a range of measures for individual farmers;
■ The collaborative approach, available to farmers in certain high-priority geographic areas, includes results-based payments and tailored farm and landscape measures.
Do I have the choice between general or cooperation? Can I switch between approaches?
No, suitability for the two approaches in ACRES has been pre-determined based on geographic location and the priority environmental assets on a farm.
How do I know which approach I am suitable for?
You can only apply for the collaborative approach if you have declared 3 ha or more or 20% or more of your farm g (whichever is lower) as forage/habitat in the BPS 2021 within the ACRES collaborative area.
Where are the cooperation areas?
A map is available on the Department’s website or from your advisor.
What are the cooperation zones?
These areas are of high natural value, contain significant carbon sinks and are home to some of the most pristine water bodies in the country.
What are the payment tiers?
■ The general ACRES approach is structured as a ‘package’ and offers a maximum payment of €7,311 per year. The level of payment will be determined by the actions selected and satisfactorily implemented.
■ The cooperative approach is also structured as a ‘package’ and offers a maximum payment of €10,500 per year.
This is broken down into a performance-related maximum payment of €7,000 and additional non-productive investments and landscape maximum payments of €3,500.
Payment levels are determined by outcome-based scorecards, non-productive investments, and landscape measures designed for your land types and regions.
Do I need a consultant or can I apply myself?
You must hire a licensed agricultural adviser to prepare and submit the ACRES application on your behalf.
Are all applicants accepted into the program at the same time?
It is proposed that enrollment in the program be phased in at least two tranches in order to spread the workload of advisers and allow them sufficient time to prepare applications.
Can leased or rented land be included in the ACRES program?
Yes, both leased and rented land can be included in the ACRES program as long as you have control over them for the duration of your contract.
By when do I have to apply?
Subject to EU approval, advisors can create Agricultural Sustainability Plans (FSPs) for their clients from early August and submit the program applications and accompanying FSPs from mid-October to late November 2022.
These dates are subject to change.
When will I know if I’m accepted into the program or not?
All applications are evaluated and ranked in each tranche based on established selection criteria. As soon as this process is completed, you will be notified directly whether your application was successful or not.
What is the Farm Sustainability Plan?
The purpose of the FSP is to help find ‘the right action in the right place’. It is a combination of desk and field assessments where consultants assess the environmental assets/risks and conservation objectives of the operation.
The FSP must be attached to the application form.
Who gets priority access?
Applications are divided into three stages.
In order to qualify for Tier 1, the applicant must commit to carry out mandatory actions relevant to the Priority Environmental Assets (PEA) at their facility.
These PEAs include: private natura; commons; geese and swan area; mapped areas for breeding waders; and catchments identified as having high status water.
Registered organic farmers also qualify for priority access under this tier.
Farmers whose lands include a vulnerable water area may apply for access to the Tier 2 program.
Applicants may also be considered if they belong to the Native Woodland Establishment Scheme or GPC 11 – Agroforestry or if they adopt at least one of the tree planting schemes.
Or if they have a total farm stocking density of more than 130 kg manure nitrogen/ha produced on the farm;
Or if they have more than 30 ha of arable crops, they must do at least one of the following:
minimal tillage; cover crops; overwinter stubble; grass fringes of fields or grass fringes of grassland; Peat turf with low entry.
Tier 3 farmers will be the last to gain access to the program and will take various actions as determined by the Department.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/all-you-need-to-know-about-applying-for-the-acres-scheme-41793441.html Everything you need to know about applying to the ACRES program