Approximately 11,200 Farm Improvement Plans submitted to date

As it stands, approximately 11,200 Farm Improvement Plans (FIPs) have been completed and submitted across all six sectors of the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Programme.

This is according to the latest figures released to AgriLand by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

These FIPs have been completed and submitted via the KT FIP Online System, the department added. Close to 5,000 other FIPs are currently in the process of being completed by KT facilitators.

The number of completed FIPs has increased significantly in less than a month.

On Wednesday, July 19, a total of 3,183 FIPs had been completed by participants, according to figures released by the department; another 8,006 were in progress.

The original deadline for the submission and completion of the FIPs under the KT Programme was May 31. However, that deadline was extended by two months to July 31.

In late July, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, decided to give more time to KT participants to submit their FIPs – thus extending the deadline for a second time.

But the deadline of July 31 for holding meetings of KT groups did remain in place.

With the new deadline of August 21 fast approaching, there are still close to 45% of KT participants who have yet to submit and complete their FIPs to the department.

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that just over 20,000 farmers were registered with the department under the KT Programme

The KT Programme is funded under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020; it involves group interaction complemented by one-to-one advice across a range of sectors.

A total of €100 million in funding has been allocated under the RDP for KT groups across the dairy, beef, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors.

As part of the KT groups, participants are required to attend meetings and approved KT events which – together with a tailored FIP – will hopefully support farmers in addressing a range of competitiveness and sustainability challenges facing the sector.