No cap for new dairy plan
Applications for the new Dairy Efficiency Programme will not be capped, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.
But farmers are not guaranteed €1,000/applicant as the total fund available will be shared equally among the farmers who apply for the scheme and then comply with its regulations.
A budget of €18m is available for the programme over the next three years, with €6m being paid out each year.
If 6,000 farmers quality for the programme the payment for each will be €1,000 -- but if more apply then the payment per farmer will fall.
There are already around 3,000 milk suppliers involved in groups but a significant increase on this is expected.
Massive interest in the programme has been reported by Teagasc, with huge numbers of farm consultants applying to be trained as discussion group facilitators.
Facilitators for the new discussion groups can be Teagasc advisers or private consultants, but training in running farmer groups must also be completed.
As payments under the scheme will be, in most cases, limited to 20 farmers per discussion group, more groups will be needed to increase overall farmer participation.