IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has raised concerns surrounding the significant variation in the fees quoted for the completion of ACRES Farm Sustainability Plans.
“There is a huge difference in the charges being quoted to our members for the completion of their Farm Sustainability Plan for ACRES. While plans for the ACRES General approach average between €400-€600, it’s those in the Co-Operation areas which have sparked concerns. In some parts of the country, farmers are being quoted €300, while others are being charged €900. This is simply unacceptable.”
In October, Teagasc released their price list for the completion of ACRES plans. Costs for completion of a plan range from €320-€550, depending on farm size. For those who did not need a farm call out, the cost was lower. Costs associated with private planners vary across the country.
Michael Biggins said “We understand that there is a significant body of work to be undertaken when drawing up plans for farmers, and this can take up to a day to complete between desk and field assessments. However, farmers should not be charged above and beyond the going rate”.
Farmers should request a full breakdown of what the total cost entails, so that they are fully aware of any additional aspects, such as VAT or travel expenses.
“While we acknowledge that the majority of planners are charging reasonable prices that reflect the level of work involved in formulating a plan, some prices are excessive and will take away a large chunk of money that farmers will receive from taking part in the scheme,” he concluded.