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Teagasc and consultants net 40pc of Knowledge Transfer payments

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The Farmers’ Charter meeting heard that close to 10,000 livestock farmers had not met the required minimum stocking rate to qualify for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC). Photo: Alf Harvey

The Farmers’ Charter meeting heard that close to 10,000 livestock farmers had not met the required minimum stocking rate to qualify for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC). Photo: Alf Harvey

The Farmers’ Charter meeting heard that close to 10,000 livestock farmers had not met the required minimum stocking rate to qualify for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC). Photo: Alf Harvey

Teagasc and private farm consultants have netted 40pc of the payments made so this year under the Knowledge Transfer (KT) scheme.

The latest Farmer Charter meeting heard that €19.2 million has been paid out so far this year under the KT scheme.

€11.4m was paid to 18,000 farmers — 60pc of overall payments. The remaining €7.8m or 40pc went to Teagasc and private consultants.

The objective of the KT programme, which is in its third year, is to up-skill farmers, to encourage efficiency and effectiveness of work.

As part of the programme, farmers attend meetings of a KT group, organised by a farm consultant acting as a facilitator, or they have the option of attending up to two KT events in lieu of such meetings.

However, the farm organisations have been critical of the high proportion of overall KT funds that are paid to farm consultants.

The Farmers’ Charter meeting also heard that close to 10,000 livestock farmers had not met the required minimum stocking rate to qualify for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC).

The minimum stocking rate required to qualify for payments is 0.15LU/ha or six cows per 100 acres. ANC applicants have until the end of the year to attain the required stocking rate.

So far this year €188.5m has been paid out to 87,565 farmers in advance payments for the ANC. That equates to an average payment of €2,150 per applicant.

Staying on farm schemes, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the latest tranche of TAMS will close on October 30. The final tranche of the scheme for this year will close on December 31.

It is understood that the total spend on TAMS so far this year has been around €55m. The targeted spend for 2020 was over €80m.

In other payments news, the 70pc advance in the BPS will be issued from this Friday, October 16.

Up to 114,500 farmers, or 94pc of eligible applicants, will receive payments totalling €747m. This is an average payment per applicant of €6,500.

The total payout under the BPS is €1.137bn. Balancing payments under the scheme will be issued to the vast majority of farmers by December 1.

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