The Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday 21 June that the new agri-environment scheme in the next CAP will be called the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), the successor to GLAS.

Some €1.5bn has been allocated to ACRES and it will target 50,000 farm families.

The Department has published a number of responses to some frequently asked questions in relation to the scheme, with further details available below.

What are the payment levels?

  • ACRES' general approach offers a maximum payment of €7,311 per applicant per full calendar year.
  • ACRES' co-operative approach offers a maximum payment of €10,500 per applicant per full calendar year. This is broken into results-based maximum payment of €7,000 and additional non-productive investment and landscape maximum payments of €3,500.
  • How will ACRES deal with oversubscription?

  • Access to ACRES will be determined by priority assets and a ranking and selection process (RASS). In the event that the scheme is oversubscribed, selection criteria will be employed, with all applications assessed in each tranche on the basis of predefined selection criteria designed to rank the applications in accordance with environmental objectives.
  • What environmental challenges will be addressed?

  • Agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • carbon sink/emission source potential of soils.
  • Energy use across farm systems.
  • Increasing ammonia emissions.
  • Decreasing water quality.
  • Sub-optimal soil fertility.
  • The pressure agriculture is placing on Ireland’s natural resources.
  • The unfavourable or declining status of the majority of Ireland’s designated habitats and landscapes.
  • Lack of forest area under protection for preservation of biodiversity and safeguarding landscapes and specific natural elements.
  • Lack of climate adaptation measures.
  • How does the ACRES go beyond mandatory requirements?
  • A more qualitative approach that goes beyond Conditionality, Eco-Scheme and Organic Farming Scheme requirements has been included in ACRES by the introduction of a number of results-based actions in the scheme, thereby encouraging the adoption of results-based actions across the country.
  • The introduction of a Farm Sustainability Plan is another factor.
  • Why are the rates not as attractive as REPS where participants got €10,000 euro each year?

    REPS was a whole farm scheme with the entire holding being subject to the Scheme conditions. The REPS payment was meant to compensate farmers for income foregone for farming their entire holding in an environmentally beneficial manner. The average annual payments in each of the REPS schemes ranged from €7,550 to €8,200. A small number of participants received payment in excess of €10,000 per annum.

    What is the difference between the general approach and co-operation approach?

  • The ACRES general approach available nationally, will offer a range of actions for individual farmers (both targeted and general) to be undertaken.
  • The ACRES co-operation approach, available to farmers in defined high priority geographical areas, will involve results-based payments, as well as bespoke farm and landscape actions. Farmers participating in this approach will have the assistance of a local Cooperation Project (CP) team, who will assist with implementation of the scheme.
  • Do I have a choice of ACRES general or ACRES co-operation? Can I transfer between approaches?

  • No, eligibility for the two approaches in the ACRES has been predetermined, based on geographical location and priority environmental assets on a farmer’s farm.
  • How long will the contract be for?

  • It is proposed that that duration of the ACRES contract will be for five years from the commencement date of your contract.
  • How many participants are in each approach? How is it split?

  • It is currently envisaged that the split will be 30,000 participants in ACRES general and 20,000 participants in ACRES co-operation.
  • Will all applicants be accepted into the scheme at the same time?

  • It is proposed that the intake into the scheme will be phased, with at least two tranches, to spread the workload on advisers and enable them to allocate sufficient time for the preparation of applications, and the completion of the Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP) and selection of appropriate actions.
  • In the co-operation approach, what are non-productive investments? What will I have to do?

    Examples include, nest protection, dry stone wall maintenance, pond creation, winterage practices, drinking point provision, water retention measures.

    They will be determined by the co-operation project teams in consultation with relevant stakeholders to assist with the delivery of environmental outputs/improvement at local level. Farmers can apply for these investments or actions annually.

    Do I need an adviser, or may I submit my own application?

  • You must engage an approved FAS agricultural adviser to prepare and submit the ACRES application on your behalf.
  • As an approved FAS adviser can I prepare a plan for myself?

  • No, you may not prepare or submit an application for ACRES or the results-based scorecard(s) as part of the scheme, in respect of your own holding and business ID or those of a family member.
  • How do I qualify for the ACRES scheme?

    To be eligible to participate, an applicant must:

  • Be aged 18 years or over on date of submission of the application for support
  • Be the holder of an active business ID. Herd owner status is required.
  • Have all lands farmed declared in the applicant’s name on the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS).
  • Have submitted a valid BPS 2021 application.
  • All lands brought into the scheme must be declared in the applicant’s 2022 BPS and declared on the applicant’s BISS application for all subsequent years of participation.
  • Do I need a nutrient management plan like previous Agri-Environmental scheme?

    It is currently proposed that it will be necessary, as a participant in ACRES.

    Can I transfer from GLAS to ACRES?

  • No, GLAS was provided for under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 with all contracts due to be completed on 31 December 2022. It is proposed that ACRES will be provided, subject to Commission approval, under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027.
  • Will there be priority access to ACRES available for commonage like previous Agri- Environmental scheme?

  • Yes, if you declared at least 0.5ha of commonage in 2021, maintain a minimum stocking density and continue to farm this at the time of application for ACRES in 2022, you may be eligible for Tier 1 priority entry to ACRES.
  • Can leased or rented land be included in the ACRES scheme?

  • Yes, both leased and/ or rented land can be included in the ACRES scheme, as long as you have control of it for the duration of your contract.
  • What is the application process?

    All applications for the scheme must be prepared and completed by an approved FAS advisor via

    What is the access agreement?

  • It's an agreement between the farmer and their adviser so that BPS/BISS data may be accessed by the approved FAS adviser for the purposes of ACRES.
  • Am I committed to applying to the scheme if I agree to the access agreement?

    No, you are just indicating an intention to apply to the scheme and allowing your ACRES adviser access to necessary information with the Department to complete an application.

    When do I have to apply by?

    It is currently proposed that advisers will be able to prepare farm sustainability plans for their clients from early August and to submit the scheme applications and the accompanying FSPs from mid October 2022 to end of November 2022.

    When will I know if I am in the scheme?

  • All applications will be assessed in each tranche based on set selection criteria designed to rank the applications in accordance with environmental objectives. Once this process is completed, you will be notified directly if you have been successful or not in your application.
  • What is the farm sustainability plan?

    It is a combination of desk and field assessments whereby advisers assess the environmental assets/risks and conservation targets on the holding.

    Is there priority access for organic farmers?

    Yes, organic farmers may be eligible for tier 1 priority entry to the ACRES general approach.

    Can I apply for the scheme when my herd number is in the ‘Reps of’?

    Yes, it should be noted, however, that payments will not issue until you have applied to transfer the herd number to the person that is eligible to take over the herd number in line with the scheme’s terms and conditions.

    Will my application depend on my 2021 or 2022 BPS application?

  • You must have submitted a BPS 2021 application to be eligible for the ACRES scheme. All lands brought into the scheme must be declared in your 2022 BPS and declared on your BISS application for all subsequent scheme years.
  • Are the actions the same as GLAS?

    A list of the actions was provided during the CAP Information evenings held in March 2022 are available at

    What are the Co-operation zones? How are they defined?

    • High priority geographical areas which include areas dominated by semi-natural vegetation (both privately owned and in commonage), Natura 2000 lands and priority water catchments, etc.
    • These areas are of high nature value, hold significant carbon stores and are home to some of the most pristine waters in the country.

      What is the co-operation team?

      The Local Cooperation Project (CP) team will provide expertise on, and assist with, the implementation of actions at a farm and landscape level.

      Can I drop an action throughout the lifetime of the scheme?

    • If you choose to drop an action throughout the duration of the scheme, you will have repay monies received to date. It may also affect your participation in the scheme.
    • Will I get a choice of co-operation actions I can undertake?

      Decisions on bespoke actions will be taken following discussions with the CP teams, based on the Local Action Plan. Farmers that have land outside the CP Zone, may choose to carry out actions selected where appropriate from the ACRES general actions list.

      When will training for ACRES participants take place?

    • Training is expected to take place within your first year of participation in the scheme.
    • Is there any additional training for the co-operation participants?

    • Yes, you must attend any additional mandatory training as organised by the ACRES CP teams from time-to-time.
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      New €1.5bn agri-environment scheme to be called ACRES