Pressure mounts not to leave anyone out of ACRES Tranche 2

ALL farmers who apply for inclusion in Tranche 2 of the ACRES environmental scheme, must be accommodated by the Dept. of Agriculture, according to IFA National Rural Development Chair, Michael Biggins.

He said that with ACRES having a current target of 50,000 farmers, this only left 4,000 places remaining for Tranche 2 applicants.

“In Tranche 1, we saw 46,000 farmers apply for 30,000 places on the scheme. The 4,000 places remaining will fall far short of expected demand.

“We are hearing there could be up to 2,000 farmers interested in the Southwest region alone. The level of demand will be multiples of what there is current provision for,” said Michael Biggins.

Around 46,000 farmers were successful in their applications for inclusion in Tranche 1 of ACRES which opened earlier this year.

“Technicalities cannot hinder progress. We either want to achieve our environmental targets or we don’t. The ambition of farmers needs to be matched by adequate resources,” he added.

Last Thursday, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, confirmed that Tranche 2 of ACRES would be opening for applications in early November (2023).

“I have increased the allocation for ACRES by €40m bringing the total scheme allocation to €200 million – this is a substantial increase on the 2023 budget of €160 million.

“The provision of additional funding will allow us to deliver on the Government’s commitment to have 50,000 farmers participating in ACRES, our flagship environmental programme under Ireland’s 2023-2027 CAP Plan,” said the Minister.

Connacht IFA Regional Chair and candidate for National Deputy President of the IFA, Pat Murphy, said that ‘it would make absolutely no sense’ if farmers willing to take part in an environmental scheme like ACRES were turned down for inclusion.

Stephen Canavan, Galway IFA Chair, said that given the level of constraints, rules and regulations that farmers faced on environmental issues, it would be ‘unthinkable’ to exclude farmers who wanted to participate in the scheme.

Pictured: Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue

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