The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today announced the opening of his Department’s Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP) portal. This function will enable ACRES advisors begin the process of developing farm plans in preparation for the submission of applications under the proposed Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) later in the year.
ACRES is the proposed new agri-environment climate measure which forms part of Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan, an updated version of which was submitted to the EU Commission at the end of July 2022 for approval.
Announcing the opening of the FSP portal, the Minister noted that this online function will support farmers and advisors by providing crucial farm level data for the preparation of draft plans and applications.
Using a habitats-based approach, delivered through both multi-functional prescription and results-based actions, ACRES aims to contribute significantly to achieving improved biodiversity, climate, air and water quality outcomes. An underlying principle is the location of the right action in the right place to maximise and enhance the contribution of actions to these objectives. A Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP) is an essential step in the ACRES application process. The FSP online portal will enable advisors review the land farmed by their clients and undertake field assessments to assist and advise farmers in the identification of the most appropriate actions for their ACRES application.
Announcing the opening of the ACRES FSP portal on the Department’s GLAM platform, the Minister commented, “Following the launch of the ACRES scheme on 21 June 2022, I am now pleased that my Department is making the Farm Sustainability Plan portal available to advisors to facilitate the preparation of farm plans and subsequent applications. My Department recently provided a draft Specifications document which gives detailed information on the general actions, core scheme requirements and proposed payment rates. My Department is working towards providing draft Terms and Conditions of the scheme shortly. This draft will give information on the scheme rules including eligibility requirements, the application process, payment claims and further details on the Tier structure and Ranking and Selection. Although certain aspects of the proposed scheme still have to be finalised, I believe that the provision of all of this information, albeit draft, will enable and support farmers and advisors to commence their work on creating Farm Sustainability Plans and applications for the ACRES scheme.”
The Minister advised, in relation to the ACRES Co-operation approach, that his Department is currently engaging with the CP Teams, who are developing Local Action Plans which will be communicated to farmers in the relevant areas as soon as possible. The draft ACRES Specifications are available on the Department’s website at ) gov.ie-Agri-Climate-Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) (www.gov.ie)
Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan of which the proposed ACRES scheme is a sub measure is subject to the approval of the EU Commission.
Notes for Editors:
Information on the Farm Sustainability Plan
- The completion of a Farm Sustainability Plan (FSP) is compulsory for all ACRES applications.
- This requires both field and desk assessments of the farm holding prior to action selection.
- The FSP has two key purposes:
- To select the most appropriate actions for a particular farm according to land type, topography, existing habitats and water risks, and
- To help ensure that proposed actions will not have a negative environmental impact on habitats or water quality.
- The desk review will be facilitated by access to the FSP portal hosted on the Department’s Generic Land Management System (GLAM) platform. This facility will enable advisors to determine priority environmental assets and the Conservation Targets, if any, on the holding.
- The advisor can then refer to the draft specifications manual to see which actions may be suitable and to read action specifications.
- The system will provide advisors with maps of landholdings to assist him/her in the field check.
(ACRES is subject to EU Approval)
Table 1: Payments per Measure
Farmer Payment (maximum)
€10,500 (including €3,500 for NPIs and Landscape Actions)
Table 2: ACRES General (General Actions)
Action (ACRES General)
Barn owl nest box
Brassica fodder stubble
Conservation of rare breeds (per LU)1
Environmental management of arable fallow
Extensively grazed pasture
Geese and swans
Grass Margin arable
Grass margin grassland
Coppicing of Hedgerows
Laying of Hedgerow
Low emissions slurry spreading
Management of intensive grassland next to a watercourse
Planting a new hedgerow
Planting a traditional orchard
Planting trees in Riparian buffer zones
Protection and maintenance of archaeological monuments- arable
Protection and maintenance of archaeological monuments- grassland
Over wintered stubble
Riparian buffer strip – arable