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Funding and Schemes

Breeding and Related Supports

Details of funding supports availale through Horse Sport Ireland are available here 

Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS)

Some of the familiar CAP Direct Payment schemes have changed names from Jan 1 2023, but have similarities to previous schemes, including: Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening Payment Scheme become the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS)

BISS will continue to be paid based on Payment Entitlements, for which an eligible hectare is held by an applicant, with all values below the average converging to 85% of the national average by 2026. Each year, farmers select the annual schemes they want to participate in and select which actions they will carry out on their eligible hectares. Applications for BISS must be made online each year. BISS is the first step to access other schemes. It is not necessary to have entitlements to make an application.

Access to other schemes such as ECO Scheme (Environment Scheme); Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS); Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CIS-YF) (previously Young Farmer Scheme); Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) and so on all starts with a BISS (previously BPS) application. 

Read more about BISS here

An individual farmer can submit their own BISS application upon registering on agfood.ie, or they can recruit an agent/advisor to act on their behalf. A list of approved FAS Advisors is available here

To make an application the applicant must

  • be a holder of a registered herd number (equine premises number); and
  • be an Active Farmer. There are different ways an applicant can satisfy the “active farmer check”, such as: meeting a minimum stocking level of 0.10 livestock units per hectare (an equine over six months of age = 0.8 L/U), or other farming activities e.g. producing crops, cutting hay/silage, topping, maintaining landscape features, etc.
  • complete the Equine Census if not already completed in 2022
    If an individual declares they are 'not active' on the BISS application they are not allowed to apply for any of the schemes that fall under BISS (CRISS/ ANC/ ECO/ Organics? SIM/ Protein/ ACRES/ CISYF

If it is the first time to apply for BISS (i.e no prior BPS application) DAFM may not hold information on your herd and you need to use the application to inform DAFM how you will mee the Active Farmer requirements

Take care that the Equine Premises Registration Number/Herd number is in the name that will carry out hte enterprise under BISS (i.e. matches to the name associated with the land).

Eligible Hectare

Starting in 2023 is also 'Eligible Hectare' as the basis of payment for area based payments under BISS, CRISS, Eco Schmes and ANC. Applicants must have control of hte declared lands (owned, leased-in, rented-in) and must be subject to agricultural activity throughout the 2023 calendar year. Lands must be 'at the disposal' of the applicant and used for agricultural activity. Agricultural land is arable land, permananet crops, permanent pasture, along with agroforestry systems. 

Land area for stocking calculations

Stocking density area is defined as the area available for grazing. This can be calculated via the following: Parcel Area minus both Ineligible Features (roads, buildings, waterbodies) and minus Beneficial Features (scrub, rock, trees, woodland, and habitat). This value may differ from the eligible hectare value. 

More information on eligible hectare and land area for stocking calculations here

Land Parcel Identification and Maps

As part of the BISS application process digital maps are used to identify each land parcel that DAFM has marked on their iNet system. If you are not on the system already maps of the farm will need to be created on iNET. Land Parcel Identification Numbers will have to be allocated to parcels as a starting point. Ensure ALL parcels are mapped, particularly where a farmyard is spearate to the land ensure it is ALSO mapped. Talk to your advisor about this. 

Checks and Balances

Validations, compliance checks and potential penalties should be kept in mind and understood. Read the BISS terms and conditions and the terms and conditions of any scheme you are applying for carefully beforehand and discuss with your advisor. 

Further Information

Article published in  Teagasc magazine Todays Farm with some further guide points is avalable to read Today Farm March April 2023 BISS

DAFM announces details of in-person public meetings and farmer clinics for new CAP schemes


To receive a payments previously under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) a variety of regulations on the environment, climate change, good agricultural condition of land, public, animal, plant health and animal welfare must have been followed.  This system was known as Cross Compliance. Cross Compliance/ Greening is to be known as Conditionality.

Conditionality sets the baseline requirements for those in receipt of CAP payments, and replaces the “cross compliance” requirements in the previous CAP. Conditionality relates to the climate and the environment, public health, animal health and plant health, and animal welfare.

The conditionality requirements are implemented in two ways:

  1. Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) - these refer to the legislative requirements concerning the environment, food safety, animal and plant health, and animal welfare. These are laid down in legislation and are applicable to all farmers - not just those participating in CAP interventions.
  2. Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) - these refer to a range of standards concerning soil, climate change mitigation, habitats, and water. There are nine GAECs in the agreed Regulation. These apply to all farmers receiving CAP support and have been tailored to Ireland based on farm size, farm structures and the specific characteristics of the areas concerned, including soil and climatic condition, existing farming systems and land use (Article 13 CSP Regulation). Importantly also now under GAEC 8 there is a requirement to have and maintain at least 4% of the agriculture area as non-productive areas or landscape features (hedgerows, drains, stone walls, ponds (<0.2ha); trees in a line; or national monuments). Hedgerow removal only allowed in exceptional circumstances with a new hedge of twice the removal length planted in advance. No cutting hedges/ tress during the bird breeding and rearing season. 

Read more here 

ECO Scheme (ECO)

Eco-scheme is a new environmental scheme applied for through the BISS application. Note that this is in no way linked to ACRES, which is a completely separate scheme. 

To apply for the eco scheme, either two agricultural practices from a list of eight or a single enhanced agricultural practice on all eligible hectares must be selected. Many farmers will qualify outright for the eco scheme, based on the presence of enough area under habitats or features that promote biodiversity on their holdings, such as hedgerows, stone walls, watercourses etc. Some farms may have to select additional measures to meet the requirement of two agriculture practices in order to secure an eco payment on their eligible land hectares. Three practices have enhanced options meaning that meeting the extra obligations under just one of those will count as two agricultural practices. These are:

  • space for nature - (nonprodcutive areas and landscape features) - baseline is 7% while enhanced is 10% of eligible hectares
    • crop type includes copse, scrub, habitat, rock, pond, drain, woodland or trees, stone walls, orchard, hedge, ASSAP riparian zone; Designated Habitat; Natura scrub; margin / buffer (arable); fallow; and wild bird cover. 
  • extensive livestock production
    • maximum overall stocking rate of 1.4 LU/ha for the calendar year
    • minimum stocking rate requirements similar to ANC (o.1 LU/ha). based on previous years stocking rates. Enhanced option maximum stocking rate of 1.2 LU/ha.
  • planting native trees and hedgerows
    • minimum planting rate of three native trees OR one metre of hedgerow per eligible hectare per annum. Enhanced option six native trees / ha OR two metres of hedgerows/ha OR three native trees AND one meter of hedgerow/ha. List of trees species and hedgerow species are listed on Eco Scheme section of the BISS T&Cs. 

Read more 

 Areas of natural constraint (ANC)

These are areas designated as disadvantaged.  Horse breeding enterprises and donkeys are considered for stocking density eligibility subject to conditions.

Designation of ANC lands and payment rates are unchanged for 2023 (rate depends on category and number of hectares). Minimum stocking rate is reduced from 0.15 to 0.10 livestock unit per forage hectare. In most cases stocking rate from the previous year can be used, however if a farmer wishes, they can use the current year. Where justified on environmental grounds, a lower stocking requirement may apply. 

Application for ANC is through the BISS. Read more

2023 T and C are not yet published. 

Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES)

ACRES is Ireland's new agri-environment climate scheme under Ireland's CAP Strategic Plan. This new €1.5 billion flagship agri-environment scheme is a farmer-friendly scheme to help address biodiversity decline while delivering an income support for up to 50,000 farm families in Ireland.

The intake into the Scheme will be phased, with at least two tranches. Tranche 1 of ACRES opened for applications October 2022 closing December 2022. If approved, the ACRES contracts start from 1 January 2023.

This scheme includes payments for Rare Breeds (Connemara Pony; Irish Draught; Kerry Bog Pony) to eligible ACTIVE farmers.

Further information available here 

Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS 3)

Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS 3) provide grants to farmers to build and/or improve a specified range of farm buildings and equipment on their holding. 

Equine infrastructure is included in the list of items under TAMS 3; although the schemes under which these are covered are not yet open. 

Access to information on TAMS 3 is available here and here


Terms and Conditions and opening of some of the ten schemes under TAMS including Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS);and Farm Safety Capital Investment Scheme (FSCIS) are awaited (due to be available pre June 16th). 

A valid BISS application is the first step (see above). For those who haven't (and even who have) previously applied to BPS it is advisable to work with an agricultural agent, though it can be undertaken without one. A list of approved FAS Advisors is available here


  1. Must be registered with DAFM (have an equine premise number)
  2. Must have a minimum of five eligible hectares of land, owned or leased (take care to renew any lease that will expire within 5 years of application)
  3. Must have submitted a BISS applications BEFORE applying for a TAMS 3 grant 
  4. Must have minimum three equines submitted on Equine Census, where appying for equine infrastructure

TAMS schemes issue in tranches, with batches of approvals allocated on a points basis aginst set criteria rather than first come first served. Tranches open for three months at a time after which applications within the tranche are reviewed and scored by DAFM, then successful applicants informed while the next tranche opens. This continues until the fund expires or for the next five years from first opening in 2023.

NO building or acquisition of materials can commence before approval. Grant payment is not issued until all works are complete; receipts etc submitted; and final inspections completed. Bridging finance is usually required to cover costs until grant is paid.

Specifications for building in relation to the equine infrastructures are not yet signed off. 

Minimum investment

Minimum investment eligible for approval per application under all TAMS schemes is €2,000 (except LESS where it is €5,000)

Planning Permission

Full and final planning permission is required and /or exemption from planning at the time of application. Guidelines re exempted developments are available here. Exemptions will have to be applied for. These are private applications to local authority without need to put up signage at the property and should have a quicker turn around time than full planning applications. 

Applicants seeking funding for farm waste nutrient storage facilities must certify the farm is in copliance with storage requirements as outlined in Nitrates Regulations. 


It is important that whatever is claimed for on an application must be EXACTLY what is purchased/built otherwise a 100% penalty on inspection can be issued. A full list of investment(s) and sub investment(s) is required to be listed through the online application including their proposed cost. 

Completion of works

12 months are granted for completion of works from date of approval letter. Extensions can be sought but photographic evidence will be required of commencement of works pre 12 months expire and explanation of mitigating factors preventing completion. 

Payment Claims

Payment claims will need to be supported by the following:

  1. ALL receipts in the name of individual/ entity showing net amount without VAT (where VAT applicable) and marked paid
  2. Evidence of land ownership / lease in applicants /entitys name(s).
  3. Agrisnap photos for every eligile TAMS subinvestment item
  4. Certificate in farm safety training coure (1/2 day); certificate in farming meets this requirement where compelted within five years of application.
  5. Any required quality certificates i.e. electrical/ concrete
  6. Tax clearance certificate of applicant and contractors 

Grant Costings

The amount to be paid in grant aid is dependant on:

  1. Whether the applicant is eligible for 40% grant rate or 60% grant rate (eligible young farmers and eligible women in agriculture) and 
  2. DAFM reference costing for the infrastructure item at date of approval. Costings as of Feb 22nd 2023
  3. or total cost of invoice marked 'paid' net of VAT together with costs of own labour/machinery 
  4. or cost of investment proposed by applicant on their online application form

Whichever is the lower of 2/ 3/ 4 is used as the base for calculating the grant.

Complimentary Income Support for Young farmers (CISYF)

Payment under CISYF is based on eligible hectares subject to a maximum of 50 hectares, rather than per activated payment entitlement. Applicants must hold at least one payment entitlement. 

Payment rates averaging €175 per hectare (dependant on total number of successful applicants in teh scheme) over five years of the scheme, subject to the maximum of 50 hectares. 

To be eligilbe for CISYF an appliant must:

  • submit a valid BISS application for the scheme year under a herd number on which  the appliant is included
  • be entitled to payment under BISS and hold at least one payment entitlement
  • be aged no more than 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year of first CISYF application
  • have successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture giving rise to an award at Level 6 or equivalent on the National Framework of Qualifications by scheme closing date
  • set up a holding as head of the holding, solely or jointly, for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding first submission of application under CISYF

Successful CISYF applicants would be eligible to apply for 60% grant rate under TAMS 3

Further information, including terms and conditions (including educational requirements) are available here 

Animal Welfare, Nutrient Storage Scheme

Tranche one opened March 28th 2023. 

The scheme will facilitate farm modernisation including the provision of animal welfare, improve the working and production conditions on farms, improve competitiveness and contribute to the improvement of agricultural incomes, assist farmers for the storage of animal excreta, soiled water and other farmyard manures and related facilities and assist equine farmers in improving animal welfare.

Grant aid will only be paid on approved, completed, and eligible expenditure paid at the rate of 40% up to the applicable TAMS 3 maximum investment ceiling of €90,000 per holding. In the case of an application by two or more eligible partners in a DAFM registered partnership the maximum eligible investment ceiling is increased to €160,000. Multiple applications per tranche are permissible. However, the minimum amount of investment which is eligible for approval under this Scheme is €2,000 per application.

Equine infrastructure items eligible for investment under this scheme include: equine housing; ancillary concrete; tack room; feed and forage store; all weather exercise areas (arena/ lunge ring/ gallop); mechanical horse walker (roofed / unroofed); fencing and gateways. The full infrastrucure list is available here. Newbuilds only, not for the upgrade of existing structures.

Further information is available here

National Liming Programme 2023

This programme is being introduced by DAFM to incentivise the use of Lime, a natural soil conditioner, which corrects soil acidity by neutralising the acids that are present in the soil. Research has shown that Liming not only increases soil microbial activity but can also unlock soil phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). Liming can improve the response to freshly applied N, P, and K, while providing a valuable source of calcium. Trial results have also indicated that increasing soil pH to optimum levels leads to a significant reduction in Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions while simultaneously increasing grass and other crop yields.

Further information on how to qualify, rates of payment, terms and conditions etc. here 

Closing date for applications is the 20th April 2023.