IFA Connacht Regional chair Brendan Golden said it’s a hugely important declaration, representing a governing framework for fairness, respect, transparency and best practice across all the key areas affecting direct payments and services to farmers.

“Negotiations have been challenging, but IFA has secured progress on a number of issues, all of which will serve farmers well in a practical and real way over the next number of years in their interaction with the Department of Agriculture and their participation in schemes which are critical to farmers’ incomes,” he said.

“Farm payments will return to their traditional payment schedule for 2024, with ANC reverting to the third week of September.

" A framework for TAMS approvals was agreed, starting from the closing date of each Tranche. Inspections in the main will be announced in the new Charter, with inspectors required to provide a written preliminary report before leaving the farm, rather than in the subsequent days, as originally proposed by the Department,” he said.

Terms and conditions

“The Department has committed in the Charter to fully engaging with farm organisations in the development of schemes and discussing any subsequent changes to terms and conditions in a timely manner.” Brendan Golden, who leads the IFA team on the Charter, said, “This is an important addition to the Charter to ensure that schemes are designed in a practical and straightforward way, and to ensure the goalposts are not changed after farmers have entered into the scheme.”


IFA has also secured a commitment in the Charter that ‘In circumstances where scheme payment deadlines/approvals will not be met in line with agreed Charter deadlines, the Charter Monitoring Committee will be convened and corrective strategies and options provided to quickly resolve issues.’ The minister has committed to providing maximum flexibility to ACRES farmers impacted by the recoupment, in part, of interim payments issued earlier this year.

Outlining the importance of ACRES and ANC payments, and farmers’ dependence on them, Brendan Golden said “it is critical that the flexibility announced by the Minister provides farmers with the maximum time frames necessary for these monies to be recouped and agreed on an individual basis.

Farmers must have clarity on where they stand as soon as possible because ACRES has operated in a vacuum of uncertainty for far too long. IFA has sought an urgent meeting with the Department personnel to ensure the flexibilities provided for are clarified and clearly communicated to farmers before any recoupment takes place.”