The ACRES system has confused its critics.
despite all the criticism and fears about the content of the new program, around 46,000 farmers have decided it is worth applying for.
Farmers seem to have brushed aside the impact of inflation on the value of the program, the more onerous nature of farm-level measures, and decided that in the times we are in, it would not be wise to refuse money.
It is also the case that many farmers are keen to take action to protect the environment and the number of applications underscores the potential of such schemes to drive action at farm level.
All in all, it’s a big win for the government.
Indeed, policymakers at Ag House may have come to work yesterday saying the program was almost too successful.
Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue and his government colleagues are now facing pressure to allow all 46,000 farmers access to ACRES in the first year.
I have no doubt but the minister is going to go to the Treasury and say the government is not very good at hammering out farmers about the need for urgent climate action and then telling 16,000 of them to wait a year before they start!
Meanwhile, the minister will also ask his staff if they even have the capacity to deal with 46,000 ACRES participants next year – the program is more complex than in the past and will require many hours of work to run smoothly.
Again, issues like this should be surmountable if the department is to live up to its environmental aspirations.
In fact, it could be argued that ACRES’s popularity will encourage the government and ministry to be more ambitious with their programs and push farmers further.
Considering the possible content of the climate plan in the coming weeks, the government might say to itself that beyond the fury and fury of farmer unions and opposition TDs, farmers may well be happy to take bold climate action.
However, forest management programs would show that financial incentives alone are often not enough to entice farmers – who are reluctant to embark on drastic long-term changes.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/comment/acres-scheme-looks-to-confound-critics-as-46000-farmers-apply-42214694.html The ACRES program seems to confuse critics as 46,000 farmers apply