Farmer business development groups
November 16, 2016

Business Development Groups Scheme reopens for applications

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced the second tranche of the Business Development Group Scheme will reopen to dairy and pig farmers in the middle of November.

Knowledge Transfer through Business Development Groups (BDG) is a scheme partly funded through the Rural Development Programme. The scheme, which uses a group approach to improve the technical efficiency of farm businesses, will reopen for applications on 16 November 2016.

Business Development Groups brings together small groups of like-minded farmers to consider how knowledge transfer, cooperation and investment can improve their farm businesses.

The Agriculture Minister has urged all dairy and pig farmers to apply, “The last few years have been extremely challenging on many dairy and pig farms with the prolonged period of depressed farm gate prices. Reopening the BDG scheme to farmers within these sectors will enhance the package of support available from my Department. Dairy and pig farmers have been particularly exposed to low farm gate prices as both sectors are reliant on high levels of financial investment to maintain their level of efficiency. I would encourage farmers to apply to the programme as local development groups are designed to help farmers come together with their peers, to learn about and enhance their knowledge of business management, new technologies and innovative ways of working.”

Farmers who participate in the BDG scheme will be required to attend eight training events each year, be willing to undertake physical and financial benchmarking, share their farm performance information with other group members and be willing to host a visit for the group, during which members will discuss technical performance and progress towards meeting business objectives. As farmers work towards meeting their business objectives, they will have the opportunity to accredit their work and gain a Level 3 qualification.

How to Apply

To make an application to the Business Development Group programme and for further information visit  or call 028 9442 6790 or e-mail

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