Tranche 2 of the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) will open for the submission of applications in early November. An extra €40 million has been announced in the latest budget for 2024 bringing the overall scheme allocation to €200 million. An unprecedented demand for places in Tranche 1 saw 46,000 farmers being accepted into the scheme. The extra funding for Tranche 2 will enable an extra 4,000 farmers to join the scheme. This will meet the Department of Agriculture target of 50,000 farmers participating in ACRES under the 2023-2027 CAP plan.
Farmers who are interested in applying for Tranche 2 can now check on the AgFood.ie portal to see which ACRES approach – ACRES General or ACRES Co-operation – they are eligible for, as this will inform their decision to apply, and into which stream.
There will again be three steps in the ACRES application process, as was the case with applications for Tranche 1 of the Scheme, the Department of Agriculture is advising that while the ACRES system will be opening early next month, farmers and their ACRES advisors should commence some of the associated preparatory work at the earliest opportunity.
The Access Agreement facility for Tranche 2, which is the first step in the process, is now open. This is the online facility whereby ACRES advisors may submit an Expression of Interest for Tranche 2 of ACRES. It must be completed by advisors in respect of each of their clients who wish to apply for ACRES, in advance of preparation of the required Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP).
The Department’s Generic Land Management System (GLAM) will then open in the next couple of weeks for the preparation of Farm Sustainability Plans.
The opening of the ACRES System for the formal submission of the applications will follow in early November. This phased roll-out of the application process gives a longer period of time for ACRES advisors to do their initial review, visit farms and consult with clients before finally submitting an ACRES application.
In the event of a higher number of applications being received, a ranking and selection process will be applied based on the extent of the environmental benefit to be delivered.
Comprehensive information in relation to ACRES is available on the Department’s website at gov.ie – Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) (www.gov.ie)