KT payments expected to commence in late October

The IFA has reportedly received confirmation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that Knowledge Transfer (KT) payments will be made on time.

Payments will not be delayed as a result of the recent extension to the deadline for the submission of Farm Improvement Plans (FIPs), the IFA’s Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady, said.

The department confirmed the payments will be made within three months of July 31, in line with the Farmers’ Charter of Rights commitment, Brady added.

Therefore, the IFA expects KT payments to commence to farmers “towards the end of October”.

Approximately 20,000 farmers will be receive a €750 payment through their facilitator, with payments equalling €15 million.

Meanwhile, the IFA has also called for greater flexibility in the KT programme and a reduction in the bureaucratic and administrative difficulties that have bogged down the programme to-date.

The IFA’s reform proposals for the programme include: a reduction in the administrative burden; the abolition of veterinary fees; and the replacement of the veterinary plan by the use of faecal sampling.

The association is also calling for flexibility in the timing of meetings – to include weekends and later than 8:00pm – and for the relaxation of the 60% final meeting attendance rule.

It also believes that there is a need for continuous professional development in order to improve the standard of facilitators.

Deadline extension

Earlier this week, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, gave KT participants an extra three weeks to submit FIPs.

The deadline – which was due to close at the end of this month – has been extended to August 21. This is the second time that the deadline for the submission of FIPs has been extended – the original deadline was May 31.

But the deadline of July 31 for holding meetings of KT Groups remains in place, he added. Minister Creed hoped that the extension would enable vets to finalise Animal Health Measures for farmer participants.