Advisors and vets getting 40pc of Knowledge Transfer scheme funding

Hundreds of farmers attended the Teagasc farm walk. Photo: Gerard O'Loughlin
Hundreds of farmers attended the Teagasc farm walk. Photo: Gerard O'Loughlin
€9.26m was paid to farm consultants and vets
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

More than 40pc of the total expenditure on the Knowledge Transfer (KT) programme for 2018 went to agricultural consultants and vets.

Department of Agriculture figures released to the Farming Independent show that the total expenditure on the scheme last year was €21.66m, with €12.4m paid to farmers and €9.26m paid to farm consultants and vets.

A breakdown of these figures confirms that farmers received 57pc of the total expenditure on the scheme in 2018, while farm consultants and vets received 43pc. Farmers received a larger share of the total expenditure on the KT scheme in 2017. Payments to farmers totalled €10.1m, with €3.7m going to farm consultants and vets.

This equates to a share-out of 73pc to farmers and 27pc to consultants and vets.

The KT scheme, which is funded under the Rural Development Programme, was launched in 2016 with a view to up-skilling farmers by encouraging efficiency and effectiveness of work. Agri-consultants act as facilitators for the scheme by organising KT Groups.

Participants, in conjunction with their KT facilitator, are required under the scheme to draw up a farm improvement plan and attend two qualifying KT events each year.

In addition, farmers must complete an animal health measure on their holding which is overseen by their vet.

It was originally envisaged that up to 27,000 farmers would join the KT programme but it has struggled to attract more than 20,000 participants since being launched.

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Meanwhile, the Department figures show that payments to farm consultants under the GLAS scheme in 2018 totalled €3.6m. Payments to consultants under the BDGP came to €3.34m in 2016 and €1.44m in 2017.

Indo Farming