The Department of Agriculture is set to look for expressions of interest from vets to take part in the new Knowledge Transfer Scheme.

As part of the Knowledge Transfer programme which will replace previous discussion group schemes all participating farmers will be required, following one to one discussion with their facilitator, to complete a tailored Farm Improvement Plan (FIP).

This plan will include Animal Health Measures for some sectors and participating farmers must engage an approved Knowledge Transfer private veterinary practitioner (PVP) to complete this aspect.

The Minister for Agriculture The Department will shortly be calling for expressions of interest from PVPs who wish to be registered under the Knowledge Transfer programme.

He said a full list of Knowledge Transfer registered PVPs will be published on the Department’s website as soon as it is available.

Minister Coveney recently responded to criticism of the cost of the animal health and welfare element of the scheme this week.

It emerged recently that farmers may have to pay vets in the region of €150 per year in order to meet the animal health requirements built into the new discussion group measures.

The Minister said while a payment to cover the PVP’s involvement is not an eligible cost under/ the relevant article covering knowledge transfer, the time spent by the farmer in completing the Animal Health Measure aspect of the Farm Improvement Plan is and has been included in the total payment to participating farmers.

Over the period of the programme, this totals €160.

The Minister said in effect this reduces the PVP cost over the period of the programme by €160, thereby significantly reducing the net PVP cost.