IFA has received confirmation that a number of changes the Association had sought to the Knowledge Transfer Scheme are to be introduced.
Speaking following a meeting with the Department of Agriculture on the scheme, IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy said that the changes to the Knowledge Transfer Programme to make it more workable must be followed by reduced red tape for the commencement of the second year of the programme and the removal of the unnecessary veterinary charge.
The confirmed changes to the second year of the programme are:
- Farmers will be allowed to attend 2 events, as opposed to 1 meaning farmers now have the option of 4 meetings with 1 event; or 3 meetings with 2 events.
- The minimum 60% participation rate for meetings will be abolished.
- Further training of facilitators will be put in place to improve the content of the programme.
The IFA Deputy President called for the veterinary involvement to be clarified and the veterinary charging regime to be abolished.
Knowledge Transfer Payments
The Department of Agriculture confirmed to IFA that Knowledge Transfer payments will commence at the end of October for the first year of the Programme.
Around 18,400 farmers have either fully or partly completed their first year Farm Plan out a total participation rate of 19,100. IFA estimates that that farmers are due more than €14m in payments for participation in the scheme. KT facilitators will not be paid until they provide proof that farmers have been paid.
IFA has also called for clarification on the charging regime, particularly for non-clients. Richard Kennedy said double charging of farmers is totally unacceptable and IFA will again be taking this matter up with Teagasc.
Richard Kennedy called for ongoing review of the Knowledge Transfer programme, saying it is important that the scheme has a positive impact on farm income.