Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said that farmers who applied for the ‘General’ approach of the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) tranche 2 are now receiving their approval letters.

Earlier this month, the minister announced that 2,300 farmers who had applied for the ‘co-operation project’ (CP) approach under tranche 2 of the scheme would be getting their approval letters.

Now, the minister has said that the remaining eligible applicants (out of 9,000 farmers who applied to the tranche) would be getting their approval letters.

Commenting on the issuing of these letters, the minister said: “I am delighted to confirm that approval letters for tranche 2 ACRES general applicants have begun to issue.

“Approval letters for all valid applications will appear in farmers’ Agfood accounts, with a text alert issuing to those signed up to receive them.

“Formal letters by post will follow shortly. In addition, I can confirm that formal letters started to issue at the end of last week, by post, to participants recently approved into the ACRES co-operation project approach,” the minister said.

He also said that all ACRES tranche 2 participants will receive an approval summary in the coming weeks.

Minister McConalogue said: “This is an important document that sets out, by parcel, the actions for which participants have received approval.

“In addition, all participants will receive a Farmland Plant Identification Key. This full-colour booklet will assist farmers in identifying positive and negative grass and peatland indicators, and in assessing the condition of these lands.

“I have no doubt that participants will find this publication useful,” he commented.

The minister reminded farmers that those participants that have commonage, or have selected the low-input grassland or low-input grassland actions, will have their lands scored by a CP team, or their own advisor, respectively, over the coming months.

The minister confirmed in early March that all 9,000 farmers who applied for tranche 2 of ACRES will be accepted.

This brings the total number of participants to 55,000, 5,000 more than than the figure that was originally envisaged.

When the first tranche opened it was planned that it would cater for 30,000 farmers, with a further 20,000 later entering in tranche 2.

However, an enthusiastic response from farmers saw 46,000 apply to tranche 1, all of whom were accepted into the scheme.

The minister had said on a number of occasions that the number of applicants that could be accepted into tranche 2, as a result of the high demand in tranche 1, was 4,000.

However, ultimately he decided to accept all 9,000 who applied.