Farmers participating in the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) in Co-operation areas and who have submitted applications for non-productive investments (NPIs), are being warned not to commence with these plans until official approval has been granted by the Department of Agriculture.

Department of Agriculture figures show ACRES advisers submitted just under 44,000 NPIs, as part of the annual NPI work plan for 4,300 farmers. These NPIs are screened by Co-operation teams before being granted approval by the Department. Co-operation teams are cautioning farmers to refrain from commencing any works, or from progressing with any investments, until official approval is granted by the Department. Where works have commenced before approval, then these are ineligible for payment.

Meanwhile reports from some co-operation teams point to NPIs not being approved until after results-based payments have been calculated. The correspondence in question highlights that results-based scorecard results will not be issued until after interim balancing payments are made, which is June at the earliest. This means that it looks like it will be mid-to-late summer before farmers can progress with NPIs.

Further information will be carried on this topic once available online and in next week’s paper.