The original June 30 deadline for registration of farmer participants in Knowledge Transfer Groups is to be extended until July 14, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has announced.

Minister Creed has said that the extension of the deadline until July 14 will allow advisors and farmers further time to finalise arrangements for their Groups.

“These Groups will be an important support for farmers in addressing a range of competitiveness and sustainability challenges facing the sector.”

Knowledge Transfer is included under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 and will involve the formation and administration of knowledge transfer groups across a range of sectors, the Department of Agriculture has said.

Funding of €100m is allocated under the RDP for Knowledge Transfer Groups across the dairy, beef, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors.

The Minister is urging farmers and advisors to finalise their Groups at an early date.

“In addition to helping farmers pursue best practice and protect farmers’ incomes, Knowledge Transfer Groups have also been seen to provide a range of social benefits for farmers.”

This scheme builds significantly on the previous Discussion Group model and is designed in such a way as to ensure the farmer and advisor engage in one to one discussion on key aspects of a farmer’s business such as controlling input costs, environmental sustainability, breeding and herd health, the Department has said.

This one-to-one engagement will be complemented by group based discussion and the sharing of experience and information between farmers.

Approved facilitators can submit participant details of Knowledge Transfer Groups for approval on the Department’s website.

The Groups will be delivered to farmers by qualified facilitators, with the first Groups already approved to hold meetings.

Terms and Conditions, Frequently Asked Questions document and application forms for the Scheme are now available on the Department’s website.