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MINISTER COVENEY LAUNCHES KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER MEASURE UNDER IRELAND’S RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the launch of the Knowledge Transfer measure under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 with the opening of an online facility for agriculture consultants to register their interest in operating as Knowledge Transfer Group facilitators.
The Minister said “I am pleased that the emphasis on one to one discussion between farmer and advisor to develop a Farm Improvement Plan will benefit not just the individual farmers participating but also each of farming sectors concerned.” He added “The scheme design has been informed by extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholder.”
The measure involves Department approved knowledge exchange groups operating over a three year period with farmer meetings involving the exchange of information and best practices facilitated by qualified advisors. Advisors will also assist participating farmers in the completion of a tailored Farm Improvement Plan that will address issues such as profitability, sustainability, herd health and farm safety.
The Minister added that he was delighted that “the innovative scheme design will not only ensure that key issues around profitability and sustainability will be addressed, but also that important issues such as farm safety and farm progression will be covered. The feedback received from participants in the previous knowledge transfer / discussion groups has been extremely positive. ”
Knowledge Transfer is one of a suite of measures included under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and will involve the formation and administration of knowledge transfer groups across the Beef, Dairy and Equine sectors in 2015. Further knowledge transfer groups under the Poultry, Sheep and Tillage sectors will commence in 2016. Funding of €100m under the Rural Development Programme has been allocated for 27,000 farmers to participate for 3 years in Knowledge Transfer Groups. The scheme is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The Minister urged advisors wishing to participate to register their interest using the online facility which is available on the Department’s website at www.agriculture.gov.ie. In conclusion the Minister said that the closing date for this tranche of expressions of interest is 22nd May, 2015.