Farmers in the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) could cash in on many of the actions laid out in the Department of Agriculture’s proposed Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES). However, payment for many actions will be dependent on the farmer forgoing the Organic Farming Scheme payment on the parcels selected.

This means that a 30ha drystock farm entered into both schemes can draw down in excess of €18,300 in 2023 for these two schemes alone, if it carries out actions that maximises its ACRES payment rate under the general entry route.

This figure rises to over €18,900 or €19,800 respectively for an equivalent sized tillage and dairy farm.

Those farming organically will also gain Tier 1 priority access into general entry route of ACRES, allowing those outside of any of the other qualifying priority criteria access to the scheme through organics.

Tree planting, new hedgerow establishment and the protection of archaeological monuments are among the ACRES actions that farmers in the OFS are set to be paid for in full under the Department of Agriculture’s plans.

Tillage actions including minimum tillage, catch cropping and overwinter stubble can all be carried out on land which is also receiving payment under OFS.

Farmers receiving organic payments can be paid for riparian buffer zones, tree belts for ammonia capture from farmyards and the three grassland actions but only if the parcel on which the measure is undertaken forgoes OFS payment.