Poll results: 64% of farmers do not think KT groups are worthwhile

Last month, AgriLand conducted a poll to determine farmers’ views on the Government’s Knowledge Transfer (KT) Programme, which was launched over two years ago.

The survey came about following questions raised by farmers and farm lobby groups about the initiative – with one farm body claiming that the programme has become a “money-spinning exercise” for some.

The programme is a jointly-funded initiative involving monies from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the National Exchequer.

Also Read: Poll: Do you think KT groups are worthwhile?

Last March, it was revealed more than €10 million had been paid to farmers to date under the KT scheme – while an additional €6.7 million had been paid to KT facilitators so far.

Poll findings

Following a poll of 1,546 voters, it has emerged that 64% of those surveyed concluded that the Knowledge Transfer Groups are “not worthwhile” – a total of 989 respondents, or nearly two thirds of those polled.

Just 557 of those surveyed (36%) viewed the scheme as “being worthwhile”.

This contrasting figure grew for the following question of the poll, which asked: “Have you withdrawn from a Knowledge Transfer Group?”

From a total respondent group of 1,363, 69% of farmers had indeed withdrawn – some 935 voters – with 428 respondents remaining participants of the scheme.

Finally, in a breakdown of what group was vacated by those who left, dairy groups appear to have seen the largest exodus of respondents, with 44% or 358 farmers saying that they had left their KT dairy group.

This was taken from a survey population of 820 voters, who had the option of voting for more than one group, meaning total votes numbered 845.

A total of 285 farmers left beef groups – 35% of voters – while a further 107 farmers abandoned sheep groups – some 13%.

8% of respondents, numbering 62 farmers, vacated tillage groups; 3% of voters left forestry groups, seeing 21 farmers walk away, while poultry and equine groups saw seven and five farmers respectively abandon ship, accounting for about 1% each.

Participation

According to the most recently available statistics, out of approximately 20,200 applicants, almost 19,100 farmers have actively participated in year one of the programme.

Participants attended a range of KT group meetings and KT-approved national events and also completed farm improvement plans, profit monitors and animal health measures.

Facilitators who complete all of the requirements of the programme receive a payment of €500 per participant for each year of the three-year programme; while farmer participants who complete all of the necessary requirements receive a payment of €750 per annum.

However, farmers that are not clients of Teagasc – the programme’s main facilitator – must also incur additional membership fees in order to participate in groups held by the agency, along with other supplementary costs in some cases.

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