Payments worth €9m will commence shortly to farmers participating in the beef, sheep, and dairy discussion programmes, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said.
Mr Coveney said that while participation in these programmes is hugely beneficial to the individual farmers concerned, there is also a wider benefit to each of the sectors concerned.
He referred to the success of the Dairy Efficiency Programme in helping to meet the Food Harvest development goals for the dairy sector,
Mr Coveney said he secured additional funding in 2013 which allowed for the introduction of the discussion group model for both the beef and sheep sectors.
He said the total budget for these programmes in 2013 was €9m, with individual payment rates of €1,000 for dairy participants and €825 for sheep and beef members.
“Research has shown that participation in discussion groups has a real and tangible benefit for farmers, driving measurable growth in profit margins,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he was encouraged at the level of commitment shown by the farmers concerned, with some 10,000 successfully completing the 2013 programmes.
He urged all farmers to do their utmost to participate fully in the schedule of meetings and events in 2014, thereby safeguarding their payments under the programme.
More importantly, he said, this would ensure the desired transfer of knowledge and skills that will benefit everyone in the industry.
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