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Business Development Groups


Business Development Groups

Knowledge transfer through Business Development Groups (BDGs) is a scheme which is part funded by the EU through the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.

Business Development Groups (BDGs) provide a training forum for around 3,000 farmers in 160 groups. The scheme uses a group training approach that allows sharing of knowledge with the aim of improving the technical efficiency and profitability of farm businesses.

How do Business Development Groups work?

Discussion groups have been used throughout the world to provide a forum for peer to peer learning, sharing ideas and an opportunity to keep up-to-date with new technology.

The Business Development Groups scheme was launched in November 2015 and today there are BDGs for all the main farm enterprises including dairy, beef, sheep, poultry cereals, potatoes and horticulture. In 2020, twenty Environmental Farming BDGs have been established. 

The programme normally consists of a series of six group training events each year, held on a member’s farm and facilitated by a CAFRE Development Adviser. BDG members also have the opportunity to undertake farm performance benchmarking to identify areas in the farm business that have the potential to be improved. CAFRE Advisers provide support to members to prepare business development plans to help improve the technical efficiency and sustainability of their farms. Members also have the opportunity to achieve a Level 3 Certificate in Agricultural Business Development qualification.

What are the benefits to BDG members?
  • A clear development plan for your business
  • Improve your profitability
  • Keep up to date with the latest technologies
  • Access to a CAFRE Development Adviser
  • Option to gain a qualification
  • Meet with like-minded farmers

Stephen Gibson from Broughshane, has joined his local Business Development Group. Stephen believes that sharing ideas and benchmarking will help him make better business decisions.

The scheme is currently closed for new applications.

For further information, contact CAFRE Knowledge Transfer Administration by Email: or Telephone 028 9442 6790.