‘Friesian cattle finishers will be allowed into discussion group scheme’

The Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed has confirmed that farmers who exclusively finish Friesian cattle will be allowed into the new Knowledge Transfer Programme.

Concerns had been raised that such farmers would be excluded from payment under the Knowledge Transfer Programme due to some of its eligibility criteria.

The key concern centred on the requirement KT Beef participants to have two beef breed animals registered in their herd in 2015.

Knowledge Transfer Groups are currently being rolled out as part of the range of supports and measures contained in Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014-2020.

According to the Department, all RDP schemes are required to incorporate eligibility and selection criteria to ensure equitable treatment of applicants, better use of financial resources and targeting of measures in accordance with the European Union and national priorities for rural development.

It says the eligibility requirements for beef Knowledge Transfer Groups were developed in order to ensure access for beef farmers to this important scheme.

However, this week Minister Creed said he asked his officials to review these requirements in light of the position of beef farmers finishing Friesian cattle.

On foot of this review, the Minister confirmed that the Scheme has been amended to allow for access for such farmers.

Meanwhile, the original June 30 deadline for registration of farmer participants in Knowledge Transfer Groups has been extended until July 14.

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.