The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for farm safety Martin Heydon TD announced the launch of the ACRES Training Scheme.
The scheme will provide specialist training to farmers in the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) in the environmental priorities of the scheme as well as farm safety.
Launching the Scheme, the Minister commented, “I am pleased to be announcing the launch of another scheme under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027. Some 46,000 farmers have commenced their contracts under ACRES and the purpose of this ACRES Training Scheme (ATS) is to increase farmer knowledge on the way in which ACRES actions are to implemented which, in turn, will optimise delivery of the actions and the contribution of those actions towards achieving the overall ambition of ACRES. It will increase farmers’ understanding of climate change, the impact of farming activities on natural resources and the protection of biodiversity at farm level.”
Participants in ACRES are required to attend a mandatory training course within their first year of participation in ACRES. The ATS provides for the provision of two types of courses – the mandatory course and a second voluntary course which an ACRES participant may attend in the third year of their participation in ACRES. The content of the second course will include the ongoing management of the ACRES actions, provision of updates to ACRES participants as regards the specifications for ACRES actions and lessons learned on the implementation of the overall (ACRES) scheme. The training under ATS will be facilitated by approved ACRES Trainers, with courses to be provided throughout the country.
Referring to the roll-out of the ATS, Minister McConalogue added, “my Department is currently in the process of training those ACRES advisors who have expressed an interest in being ACRES Trainers. When approved, ACRES Trainers will be able to commence holding courses for ACRES participants by the end of this month. I encourage farmers in ACRES to attend the mandatory courses when they become available as they will enable farmers to implement actions correctly and also increase their awareness about the value of the actions.”
Commenting on the farm safety training, Minister Martin Heydon said, “farm safety has been put to the front and centre of the new CAP. Farmers are the backbone of our food production system and it is incumbent on us all to prioritise and protect their safety and wellbeing. The ACRES training programme will provide an important opportunity to reach farmers with practical safety advice and ensure they can deliver on the environmental priorities of ACRES by staying safe on the farm.”