The list of proposed non-productive investments (NPIs) under the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) has been published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) today (Friday, October 6).
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue confirmed that ACRES advisors will shortly be able to apply for NPIs on behalf of participants in Co-operation Project (CP) areas.
Participants in the ACRES co-operation approach have the opportunity to apply for tailored NPIs and Landscape Actions (LAs), and will be able to apply for these investments annually.
There are three categories of proposed NPIs:
- Section 1 NPI Habitat and Wildlife Support;
- Section 2 NPI Infrastructure;
- Section 3 NPI Scrub/Track (Burren/Aran CP Zone only);
Announcing the availability of NPIs for participants in the co-operation approach of ACRES under Ireland’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan 2023-2027, the minister said:
“The inclusion of a specific approach in identified high environmental priority areas across the country, namely the ACRES co-operation approach, was a major development in the design of ACRES.
“While participants in those areas can earn up to €7,000 each year based on an assessment of the environmental quality of their lands, there is also an opportunity to enhance their lands through access to further funding for NPIs.”
Such investment may in turn result in higher scores being achieved for farmers’ lands, which should consequently increase their annual results-based payment, Minister McConalogue added.
List of NPIs under ACRES
The proposed list of NPI’s is subject to completion of a scheme-level Appropriate Assessment process (AA). The associated draft specifications will be available shortly, the DAFM said.
The DAFM will shortly be providing training to ACRES advisors in respect of the deployment of NPIs. The ACRES CP teams within the eight CP zones are also available to help advisors through the process.
Funding for NPIs, LAs and landscape bonus payments:
- The total maximum budget for an ACRES CP participant over the five-year contract is €52,500 (5x €10,500);
- A maximum budget of €7,000 per year is available for ACRES CP Core Payment (the sum of all ACRES CP results-based payments plus ACRES General Action payments);
- An additional NPI/LA fund of €17,500 (5x €3,500) is available for NPIs/LAs/Landscape Bonus over the five years of the contract;
- Where a farmer does not claim up to the max €7,000 core payment ceiling in any year of the ACRES contract, the balance of unclaimed funds is added to the total NPI/LA/Landscape Bonus fund for that participant;
- Where NPIs are approved, payment will be limited to the remaining fund ceiling for that participant. The total maximum budget of €52,500 will not be exceeded.
NPIs differ from LAs in they are generally smaller in scale and are standalone actions on a single farm. A separate document outlining details and requirements for LAs will be available in due course.
NPI Habitat/Wildlife Support
NPI Scrub/Track NPI Burren Aran CP Zone only
The DAFM notes that some NPIs are only available to select on a NPI Annual Works Plan (AWP) for ACRES CP participants in the Burren Aran CP Zone that are managed by the Burren Aran CP Team.
Allowable parcels is an overall summary as guidance only. There will be more specific rules and validations that will apply depending on scorecard type and will be detailed in site suitability for each NPI.