The first tranche of ACRES opened in October 2022. This tranche is now closed following the admission of almost 19,000 participants in February 2023. A second tranche is expected to open in the Autumn of 2023.
All applications for ACRES are made through Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved Farm Advisors. A list of these advisors can be found by following this link:
ACRES is a results-based scheme; the farmer is paid for the quality of the habitats on their farm. The farmer can also receive additional payments for delivering Non-Productive Investments and Landscape Actions. The farmer can receive up to €52,500 over the five-year contract.
Habitat quality is assessed using habitat scorecards. There are 10 of these:
- Grassland – the most common scorecard for use on grassland
- Rough Grazing – for more extensively managed grasslands
- Bog/ Heath – for peatlands fields
- Scrub/ Woodland – for scrub and broadleaved woodland fields
- Coastal – semi natural grasslands along the coast
- Winterage – higher altitude fields in the Burren
- Low Input Peat Grassland – for fields beside raised bogs.
- Chough – fields used by Chough, mostly on the slopes of Ben Bulben and the Dartry Mountains in North Sligo and Leitrim
- Corncrake – coastal fields in Galway, Mayo and Donegal used by breeding Corncrake
- Breeding Waders – breeding sites for Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe
These scorecards measure the positive and negative aspects of each field with respect to the type of habitat and the needs of certain key species.
The CP team select the most appropriate scorecard for each of your fields. In most cases the advisor can change this when they walk the farm to a more appropriate scorecard.
The CP Team will divide your maps into fields for assessment purposes. Your farm advisor will assess privately owned fields and the CP team will assess commonage fields.
No. ACRES is a voluntary scheme. It has a results-based approach; you get paid for the quality that is there and for the actions you deliver. If you adjust how you manage the farm, you may be able to increase your score. The CP team and your advisor will suggest methods for you to achieve this but implementing change is entirely up to you.
Non-Productive Investments are actions that are delivered on privately owned lands. They include co-funding for farm infrastructure such as the provision of water to livestock, and actions designed to support wildlife such as Barn Owl Boxes or Wild Bird Cover. They include many actions similar to those available in ACRES General.
These are more specialised actions to support the farmer in dealing with invasive species such as Rhododendron or Japanese Knotweed, soil erosion and wildfire resilience. They also include very targeted actions to support the need of key species such as the provision of summer roosts for Lesser Horseshoe Bats.
The specifications for both NPIs and Landscape Actions are under development. We expect they will be published in early summer 2023.
Your advisor will be able to apply for Non-Productive Investments on your behalf. The CP team will help you apply for Landscape Actions.
It is expected that applications for NPIs and Landscape Actions will open in October 2023. Support for NPIs and Landscape actions is for one year. You have to apply each year for new actions.
No applications for NPIs and Landscape Actions are entirely voluntary. If you deliver on them, you will be paid for them. If you choose not to, you will not be paid for them.
The CP Project team are fully funded by the Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine. We will never charge you for services that we provide.