The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been challenged to confirm if farmers in the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) Co-operation stream will receive payment for approved “non-productive investments” in 2024.

Independent Clare TD, Michael McNamara, asked Minister Charlie McConalogue to confirm if farmers who have made investments to “address environmental issues” on their farms including habitat and wildlife support, infrastructure or scrub/track- related will get reimbursed “this calendar year”.

Under the CP stream ACRES advisors have to submit requests for non-productive investments (NPIs) which are then screened by the CP team and either rejected or approved.


According to Minister McConalogue last December almost 4,300 farmers in CP stream, applied for 43,910 NPIs.

Speaking in the Dáil earlier this week Deputy McNamara said farmers want to know whether they will be reimbursed in this calendar year if they carry out positive environmental measures, which involve up-front expenditure for items such as troughs and fencing or gravel track re-surfacing.

“I suppose they are slightly suspicious. If they are approved for the measures and carry them out this year, when will they be paid?

“Can the minister give an undertaking that it will happen in this calendar year, if the expenditure is in this calendar year?” Deputy McNamara asked.

Minister McConalogue told the deputy that all NPIs submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) during the application process “are now being screened”.

“This screening is carried out under appropriate assessment regulations and there are statutory requirements involved, such as notifying the National Monuments Service.

“This is the first step in the approval process. Work is ongoing in this regard and will continue for the coming months, as planned. The second step is for my officials to consider the whole application for NPIs, including the screening decisions.

The final decision will be communicated in writing to participants, with these approval letters issuing to farmers in the second half of this year.”

The minister also stressed to Deputy McNamara that farmers must not carry out any NPI unless they have received approval to do so.

“Any actions carried out without approval, or before approval is received, will be at the farmer’s own expense and no payment will be made for these actions,” the minister said.


But Deputy McNamara has criticised Minister Charlie McConalogue for what he has described as his “non-committal” on when ACRES CP farmers will be reimbursed for 2024 NPI investments.

“There was a strict deadline to have applied by December 6, 2023 and farmers were informed that in April 2024 they would receive approval to proceed with their investment. That approval date is now in doubt.

“The department is expecting farmers to outlay money on these measures, deemed to be non-productive, essentially to protect the environment, yet it will not give certainty on when the partial reimbursement will take place.

“Cashflow is as tight as I ever I can recall. Farmers simply cannot afford the outlay in the absence of a definite timeframe for partial reimbursement,” Deputy McNamara added.