The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have called on the Government to deliver on promises made in the Programme for Government relating to support for a new Agri-environment scheme.
In the Programme for Government farmers that were willing to deliver in terms of climate change and improved biodiversity were promised substantial support under a REPS like scheme. With over 46.000 applications for the new Agri-environment scheme ACRES, farmers have, stated INHFA President Vincent Roddy “indicated their willingness to engage and this has put the ball well and truly in the Minister’s court.”
Speaking after a meeting with Minister McConalogue Roddy outlined how the association pushed the Minister for additional funding in order to meet this year’s applications and to allow for additional applications in the coming two years.
We have, he stated “always maintained that the budget would need to be increased in order to accommodate all those that wanted to join and had indicated the need for an annual budget increase of at least €100m to accommodate up to 70,000 farmers.”
Following this year’s uptake we may, he added “require a budget to accommodate in excess of 80,000 farmers.”
While we expect the Minister will seek an increase in funding to accommodate more than the 30,000 catered for in the 2023 National Budget, it is stressed Roddy “vital that the Minister also looks for the additional funds to accommodate all those that want to join.”
In concluding the INHFA Leader challenged the Government to deliver on their promise of a Just Transition and he stated “ensure that no farmer that is willing to deliver on environmental ambition is left behind”