The Department of Agriculture has launched its new Knowledge Transfer scheme (Discussion Groups) and is looking for facilitators to run the groups.

The measure, which comes under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, has been launched with the opening of an online facility for agriculture consultants to register their interest in operating as Knowledge Transfer Group facilitators.

“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,” Minister Coveney said.

He added that the Scheme design has been informed by extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

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.

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 three years in Knowledge Transfer Groups.

The Minister urged advisors wishing to participate to register their interest using the online facility which is available on the Department’s website at

The closing date for this tranche of expressions of interest is May 22, 2015.