Hill Farming Reports

Hill Farming Council Report March 2023

  1. Scheme Updates 


  • Following the closing of ACRES applications on 7th December 2022, over 46,000  

applications were received. Approx. 18,600 applications were received to take part in the  

Co-operation approach of the scheme.  

  • Breakdown of applications to CP Zones:  
CP Area No. of Applications 
Burren 1,193 
Donegal 2881 
East/South East 660 
Mid-West Southern Uplands 3,306 
North Connacht/Ulster 2,561 
North West Connacht 2,563 
South Mayo 2,431 
West Cork/Kerry 3,005 
  • DAFM estimate that 500,000ha of privately owned upland will be covered across the Co-Operation areas 
  • Approximately 250,000 scorecards will be used across the CP areas as part of results-based scoring measures.  
  • Applicants are expected to receive correspondence from the Department in early March 
  • Please see Rural Development Report for more details  

Walks Scheme 

  • Following IFA lobbying, an expansion of the Walks Scheme from 80 to 150 trails in the next 2 years was announced by Minister for Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphreys. 
  • Funding of €2.4m has been allocated to the expansion of the scheme.  
  • This expansion will bring the number of farmers/landowners on the Walks Scheme to 2,500. 
  • There are currently 60 trails up and running on the scheme with workplans being developed for more trails. 
  • The application process is now open to trail management committees, community groups and other similar entities for expressions of interest through Local Development Companies until Friday, June 23rd. 
  1. Activity since last National Council 
  • The National Hill Committee met on 7th February in the Irish Farm Centre 
  • The first Comhairle na Tuaithe meeting of 2023 took place in Lough Boora, Co.Offaly 
  • IFA made a submission on revisions to the ‘Recreation in the Irish Countryside’ booklet calling for stronger language to protect the rights of landowners and a specific section on dog control in the outdoors to be included.  
  • Members of the Hill Committee joined the SAC Project Team at a meeting with the National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS). The meeting discussed payment for farmers whose land is designated, the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, and upcoming calls for EIP projects.  
  • IFA met DAFM to discuss next steps for ACRES applicants  
  • Applicants are expected to receive notice from DAFM in early March.  
  • IFA insist that any farmer who has made a valid ACRES application must receive a payment in 2023.  
  • IFA met with the NPWS & DAFM alongside the Environment Committee on EU Nature Restoration Law. IFA insist that there must be full engagement with farmers on the proposed regulation as farmers in designated areas are concerned that the measures set out in the regulation will further restrict their ability to farm.  
  1. Upcoming issues 
  • Next meeting of Comhairle na Tuaithe will take place on 18th May 
  • IFA is involved in a number of burning appeal cases which will take place in the months ahead. This burning was in most cases not caused by farmers and without proof, no farmer should have a penalty imposed on them.  
  • IFA have called on the Minister for Rural and Community Development to increase the hourly rate for farmers/landowners on the Walks Scheme to keep in line with updated TAMS costings.  

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