Nearly 5,000 farmers from across Donegal will benefit from the new ACRES scheme, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.
The county had the second highest number of applications across the country.
ACRES proved to be a huge success among farmers across the country with over 46,000 applications being made for 30,000 initial places. However, Minister McConalogue announced today that he had secured places for all 46,000 farmers.
Some 4,941 farmers from across Donegal will now join the Government’s new €1.5bn agri-environmental scheme.
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.
Commenting on the announcement, Minister McConalogue said “I am delighted to announce that, after receiving more than 46,000 applications, all valid applications submitted for ACRES will be accepted into the Scheme in 2023.
“Donegal has the second highest number of applications to ACRES in the country which shows the tremendous appetite there is in the county to take part in agri-environmental schemes. There is a great legacy of Donegal farmers playing their part in terms of protecting and enhancing the environment so I know those in ACRES will continue to step up to the plate now.
“Overall, I want to harness that enthusiasm and deliver the maximum possible environmental benefit. It will be challenging, and it will require intensive and focused effort from all concerned – from my Department, from advisors, from Co-operation Project Teams and from farmers – but I look forward to working with everyone to achieve that objective.”
In terms of next steps for ACRES applicants, the Minister commented: “ACRES applicants will hear further from my Department, in the coming days, as the formal approval letters are issued. The message for now is that farmers should wait until they receive their letters before contacting either the Department or their advisor.”
The Minister noted that an approval summary, which will show where actions have been mapped on the participant’s farm, will also be sent to ACRES participants by the end of March, as well as a species identification booklet to help farmers identify the indicator species on their land to be used in the scoring process.
He also noted that, in order to accommodate the significantly higher-than-anticipated number of participants, access to the BISS application system for ACRES applicants will be made available on a gradual basis over the next few weeks, as approvals issue and as the required updates to mapping systems are made.
This process is expected to be completed by the end of the month.