How to Join
A locally adapted agri-environment scheme
ACRES Co-operation is open to any farmer with land in one of the Co-operation zones. The first tranche of entrants joined the scheme on January 1st 2023. A second tranche will open for applications in the Autumn of 2023.
Applications are made through approved Farm Advisors. Farmers who are interested in joining should talk to their advisor as soon as possible. Contact details for approved advisors can be found on our Resources Page.
Details of the opening and closing dates will be published on this website as soon as they are available.
ACRES Co-operation is a high ambition stream within Ireland’s national agri-environment scheme. It is a locally adapted results-based approach to supporting the delivery of ecological services by farmers.
The rollout of the scheme is supported by eight Co-operation teams.
ACRES Munster / South Connacht Co-operation Project
ACRES Munster / South Connacht is the largest and most dispersed of the Co-operation projects. It is spread across nine counties stretching from the Knockmealdown Mountains in Waterford to the Slieve Aughties in Galway.
The Leinster Co-operation area is spread over seven counties. It presents unique challenges including an exceptionally high proportion of commonage and proximity to densely populated areas.
The Breifne Co-operation area is spread across five counties: Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Roscommon and Monaghan. The area contains very high farmland biodiversity with huge potential for the delivery of ecosystem services but has been largely overlooked in the past.
About the programme
ACRES Co-operation is available to farmers in eight Co-operation zones, which are targeted specifically at High Nature Value farmland. The ACRES Co-operation zones were defined by a cross-government working group as high priority, High Nature Value farmland areas dominated by semi-natural vegetation (both privately owned and in commonage), Natura 2000 lands, and priority water catchments with high water quality. ACRES Co-operation incorporates landscape and catchment considerations into a results-based agri-environmental approach for these areas.
How does it work?
Hybrid Results-Based Approach
The project values participation and co-operation in the delivery of environmental objectives. It encourages and rewards farming for conservation with incentives and support, rather than penalties.
Flexible and Adaptable
Farmers make the decisions for their own farm. They are supported with training and advice, and rewarded for their achievements.
Payment for Results
All eligible land will be scored annually with a user-friendly scorecard. Higher scores receive higher payments. This gives farmers the incentive to manage their fields in ways that will improve the habitat condition and thus improve their payment.
Payment for Actions
Funding for Non-Productive Investments and Landscape Actions is available to help farmers to improve their scores and increase their habitat payments.
Landscape Actions are intended to help farmers working individually or in groups to address issues that have an impact beyond the field itself. These include a wide range of options to address water quality, wildfire resilience or invasive species. The local CP team will assist farmers in coordinating action at the landscape level.
FUNDING THE PROGRAMME
Co-operation Project teams support farmers in ACRES Co-operation through specialist training and helping them to select and deliver the right action in the right place. The teams will also develop the Local Area Plans, assess commonages and deliver specialist training for farmers.
Their main objective is to ensure that farmers’ efforts and public investment achieve the optimum benefit for our shared environment.
The Co-operation Project Teams are fully funded by the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. We will never charge a farmer for the services that we provide.