Private agricultural advisers have been urged to down tools and stop working with farmers in Knowledge Transfer (KT) groups until the programme’s “unworkable” terms and conditions are ironed out by the Department of Agriculture.

Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) president Noel Feeney told the Irish Farmers Journal that the association has written to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on behalf of advisers seeking more leniency with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Participating farmers in this year’s programme must attend eight KT meetings per year and are required to complete a two-hour one-on-one meeting with their adviser which must be booked in five days in advance.

Advisers learned in the last fortnight that they only have until the end of March to complete all one-on-one meetings, which Feeney described as “totally unworkable”.

Advisers were also told that they can only carry out two meetings per day, putting advisers under more pressure to work through meetings.


“We’re urging our members to stop processing any more one-to-one meetings, don’t even attempt to or do any work on KT groups until we get this resolved and get clarity on the situation.”

Feeney argued that if these important details were clarified last autumn, not as many advisers would have taken on as many farmers, or taken on KT at all.

“What they [the Department] have done in this CAP reform, scheme after scheme, is not fair on advisers.

“There’s been so much chopping and changing... four and five deadlines on the one day and enough is enough,” Feeney added.

Brian Dolan, a private adviser in Creeslough, Co Donegal, said that since last summer they have been working from first light in the morning until last light in the evening to keep up with the various scheme deadlines.

“I’m not even involved in KT, I just had that much work going on that I didn’t sign up to it. It has been chaotic for the last 15 months. Personally I haven’t had a minute to myself,” he said.