Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

No cap for new dairy plan

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

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.

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It is anticipated that more than 150 new groups could be required to push total membership over 6,000.

A full list of qualified facilitators, who will be available to form and manage discussion groups, is now available from co-ops and dairies and on the Department website.

Meanwhile, Department officials have warned farmers that they must apply for the scheme before the closing date of February 19.

Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith welcomed the strong farmer interest in the scheme.

"It is clear that considerable efficiencies can be gained by dairy farmers through participation in discussion groups, and I hope that a high number will participate in this programme," he said.

The minister reminded dairy farmers that full details of the scheme, including application forms, are available on the Department's website ( and can be found under 'Dairy Farming/Dairy Efficiency Programme'.

Irish Independent