Senior Department of Agriculture officials and the main farm organisations are to meet in Portlaosie this Wednesday morning amid deepening concerns around farm payments.

There are growing fears that a significant proportion of the 46,000 farmers who signed up for the first tranche of the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) will not be paid by Christmas.

There are also unconfirmed reports that payments under the Complimentary Income Support for Young Farmers (CISYF) could be reduced by as much as €20/ha due to the scheme being oversubscribed.

It had been envisaged that the CISYF, which replaced the old Young Farmers Scheme, would pay around €175/ha for a maximum of 50ha.

If payments are cut by €20/ha, this will equate to a reduction of €1,000 for entrants with 50ha or more.


The difficulties with ACRES relate primarily to co-operative entrants who have commonage ground, it is understood.

It has been suggested that problems have arisen with the scorecards used to evaluate the actions taken on the commonages under the ACRES programme.

One farmer representative who spoke to the Irish Farmers Journal predicted that the “likelihood of farmers in co-operative area receiving ACRES payments before Christmas is quite low”.

This is the latest payments controversy to hit the Department since autumn.

The Department and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue faced severe criticism from the farm organisations in September when payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme were delayed.