It has been confirmed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, that payments under the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Programme have commenced.

These payments will issue to farmers – in respect of the first year of the KT Programme – who have completed all the necessary requirements.

On account of how the programme is structured, payments are now rolling out on a sector-by-sector basis, the department explained.

Payments to farmers in sheep KT Groups have already been issued, while payments in respect of beef KT Groups will issue later this week. Payments for dairy, tillage, poultry and equine groups will follow shortly after, the department added.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Creed said: “I am delighted to confirm that payments under the KT Programme have now commenced.

“The Knowledge Transfer Programme is a key element of the €4 billion Rural Development Programme, and seeks to help farmers develop the skills and knowledge which will enable them to address sustainability, productivity and competitiveness challenges.

“Approximately 1,100 KT Groups under the programme build on the success of the previous discussion group model. In addition to helping to upskill farmers, the group model has also been shown to have significant social benefits for farmers in terms of helping to address issues linked to rural isolation.”

There is an EU regulatory requirement in place that means that payments for farmers involved in KT Groups must be passed on via the facilitator of their group.

This means that individual farmer payments will issue initially to the facilitator, who will then subsequently pass this payment to the farmer, according to the department.

A payment of €750 will issue where the KT participant has met all the requirements of the first year of the scheme. In cases where a farmer is in two KT Groups, that payment will be increased to €1,225.

Concluding, Minister Creed reiterated his support for the group setup underpinning the KT Programme.

“Not only do farmers get expert advice from a trained facilitator, but they can also share their experience and learn from each other in the group setting.

“This interaction between farmers has proven to be very popular and successful, and I am confident that the 19,000 farmers currently in KT Groups will continue to see the very real benefits of this approach,” he said.