IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has received confirmation from the Department of Agriculture that Knowledge Transfer payments will not be held up as a result of the extension to the deadline for Farm Improvement Plans to be submitted.
Joe Brady said the Department has confirmed the payments will be made within 3 months of July 31st, in line with the Charter of Rights Commitment. IFA therefore expect payments to commence to farmers towards the end of October. Around 20,000 farmers will be paid €750 each, through their facilitator, with payments totalling €15m.
IFA has called for greater flexibility in the Knowledge Transfer Programme and a reduction in the bureaucratic and administrative difficulties that have bogged down the programme to-date. IFA proposals include:
- reduction in the administrative burden;
- the abolition of veterinary fees;
- replacement of the veterinary plan by the use of faecal sampling;
- flexibility in the timing of meetings to include weekends and later than 8pm;
- relaxation of the 60% final meeting attendance rule;
- increase in the number of events from 1 to 2 and a corresponding reduction in meetings;
- in order to improve the standard of facilitators, there is a need for continuous professional development;
- reopening of the KT for new groups and increasing the maximum number in a KT Group from 18 in certain instances up to a max of 25;
- where farmers drop out of a KT, they should be allowed to be replaced; and,
- payments of KT must be made within two months of the end of the contract year.