Some farmer organisations have already moved to welcome Wednesday’s confirmation that 46,000 farmers have been accepted into the first tranche of the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES).

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue confirmed that all valid applications to enter the scheme will be accepted, giving clarity to thousand of farmers.

Both the IFA and ICSA have said that the number of applications shows that farmers are willing to carry out environmental action on their farms.


Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan pointed to the inclusion of all eligible applicants for ACRES as being the correct decision to accommodate demand for the scheme.

“The Department has made the right decision here. It would have sent a very negative signal if farmers had expressed an interest in the scheme and then found themselves locked out,” he said.

However, the Department of Agriculture must now seek to allow all farmers looking to join the next tranche of the scheme to do so, according to IFA rural development chair Michael Biggins.

“We’ve been pushing for this for some time now given the importance of agri-environment schemes to so many farm families, particularly those in the vulnerable sectors, to keep going,” commented Biggins.

“It’s vital now that adequate resources are provided to avoid any complications or potential delay in receipt of payments down the road. It’s vital too that anybody looking to get into tranche II is accommodated.”


Welcoming the news that all 46,000 applicant farmers will get into ACRES, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) rural development chair Tim Farrell said the “scheme is about achieving all our environmental goals from protecting biodiversity to reaching our climate action targets”.

“It made no sense to deny farmers who are ready and eager to tackle these challenges the opportunity to do so. [The] ICSA made repeated calls for the inclusion of all applicants and today’s confirmation that all valid applications will be accepted is indeed welcome,” he said.

Farrell said the interest in ACRES illustrates the “willingness of Irish farmers to deliver on environmental and climate action goals”.

He insisted that this quashes all “commentary that farmers are unwilling to adapt or [are] disinterested in the challenges we all face”.

“Applying for the scheme cost some farmers over €600, with many fearing this money would be lost if their applications were unsuccessful. It is a relief that farmers will not now be left out of pocket,” the ICSA representative added.

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