Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. today announced that “the deadline for applications under advisor registration of Knowledge Transfer Groups would be extended until 11 September”. He added that “Department approved facilitators should register their proposed Knowledge Transfer Groups on the Department’s on-line facility for the dairy, beef and equine sectors”.

Knowledge Transfer is one of a suite of measures included under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and will involve the formation and administration of knowledge transfer groups across a range of sectors. Funding of €100m under the Rural Development Programme has been allocated for 27,000 farmers participating for 3 years in Knowledge Transfer Groups across the dairy, beef, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors.

The measure is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The on-line registration process provides the opportunity for DAFM approved facilitators to apply to run dairy, beef and equine Knowledge Transfer Groups. Minister Coveney said that “since the registration process opened, interest levels in the Knowledge Programme has been considerable”. This he added “reflects the intent of advisors and farmers alike to improve on-farm profitability and sustainability through farmer meetings run by advisors and involving the exchange of information and best practices”.

Minister Coveney added that “facilitators and vets will also assist participating farmers in the completion of a tailored Farm Improvement Plan that will address issues such as profitability, sustainability, animal health and welfare and farm safety.” Detailed scheme conditions are available on the Department’s website at

Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme – GLAS

GLAS is the new agri-environment scheme, part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. GLAS achieves the objectives of Articles 28 and 30 of the Rural Development Regulation and ties in with the green vision for Irish agriculture as contained in Food Harvest 2020 and as promoted by Bord Bia in the Origin Green campaign.

The scheme is green as it preserves our traditional hay meadows and low-input pastures; low-carbon as it retains the carbon stocks in soil through margins, habitat preservation and practices such as minimum tillage; and, agri-environment as it promotes agricultural actions, which introduce or continue to apply agricultural production methods compatible with the protection of the environment, water quality, the landscape and its features, endangered species of flora and fauna and climate change mitigation.

Knowledge Transfer (KT)

A suite of knowledge transfer measures are included in the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, and will consist of support for Knowledge Transfer Groups across the Beef, Sheep, Dairy, Poultry, Tillage and Equine sectors. 2015 will initially see groups being established under the Beef, Dairy and Equine sectors with Poultry, Tillage and Sheep commencing in 2016.

The scheme design has been guided by experiences from previous Dairy Advisory Schemes and Beef and Sheep Discussion Groups and following extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. The scheme builds significantly on the discussion group model and is designed in such a way as to ensure the farmer and advisor engage in one to one discussion on key aspects of a farmers’ business such as profitability, environmental sustainability, breeding and herd health.

Each approved Knowledge Transfer Facilitator must prepare for and hold a minimum of 5 Knowledge Exchange meetings each year and oversee the preparation and submission of a FIP for each participating farmer. Facilitators will also be responsible for confirming the completion of scheme requirements by participating farmers. This will be completed via a dedicated online system using their existing online registration details. New facilitators will be required to register with the Department’s online system.

Participating Knowledge Transfer facilitators require a minimum of an NFQ level 8 Agriculture Science Degree, have Indemnity Insurance and must be willing to undertake Facilitator Training and related Continuous Professional Development Training as provided by the Department over the duration of the programme.