An independent TD has called on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to roll over the existing Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) for 2023 as a transition for farmers who want to join the new Agri Climate Rural Environmental Scheme (ACRES).
Galway East TD, Seán Canney said: “There are approximately 12,000 farmers on this scheme presently and if they could be rolled over for another year, 2023, it would help alleviate the pressures on farmers to join the new scheme in spring of 2023.
“Secondly, the department needs to ensure that the details of the new scheme are published as a matter of urgency to ensure farmers are fully aware of what is expected of them and how the results will be measured.
“It is also critical that farmers receive payment in 2023 under the scheme and that there is no gap year in times when cash flow is critical for family farms,” he added.
The independent TD said that many farmers are concerned at the lack of detail available to them in order for them to make informed decisions.
“A headline figure of €10,000 has been touted by the [agriculture] minister but the reality is that the vast majority of farmers will not get anything near this,” the deputy said.
“Farmers need clarity and certainty for this scheme to work. A rollover of GLAS 3 for 2023 would ensure a more manageable transition to the new scheme.”
The new ACRES, which will come into effect from January 2023, is the main farmer environmental scheme under Pillar II of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The €1.5 billion measure will replace GLAS, but unlike GLAS, ACRES will have two different entry streams, or approaches, for farmers. These will be called ACRES General and ACRES Co-operation.
ACRES General will be available nationally (apart from certain high-priority geographical areas), which will offer a range of both targeted and general actions for farmers to undertake.
ACRES Co-operation is available to farmers in the eight high-priority areas, which will be referred to as co-operation project (CP) zones.
This approach will involve results-based payments, as well as bespoke farm and landscape actions.