Simmons welcomes second tranche

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Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) president Roberta Simmons has welcomed the decision taken by Farm Minister Michelle McIlveen to open the second tranche of applications for the Business Development Groups (BDG) that will operate within the dairy and pig sectors.

“This is particularly good news for young farmers throughout Northern Ireland,” she said.

“The BDG concept allows for shared learning and will provide an opportunity for those involved to see best practice on the ground.

“I would encourage all young farmers to actively participate in this initiative. Their involvement will allow them to build on the education and on-farm experience they have garnered up to this point.

“The BDG programme is also synonymous with the acquiring of new skills for farmers of all ages, all of which will be needed to allow producers to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

The President concluded:

“Young farmers are the future of agriculture in Northern Ireland. As an organisation YFCU is committed to supporting projects, such as BDG, which will allow the next generation of producers to take their place within the industry in the most effective way possible.”

The BDG Programme is one of the Knowledge Transfer schemes which are partly funded through the Rural Development Programme. Applications for this second phase will close at 4.00pm on 30 November 2016.

Urging all dairy and pig farmers to apply, Michelle McIlveen said: “The last few years have been extremely challenging for many dairy and pig farms with the prolonged period of depressed farm gate prices.

“Re-opening the BDG Programme to farmers within these sectors will enhance the package of support available from my Department. Both sectors are reliant on high levels of financial investment to maintain their level of efficiency.

“These 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. I therefore urge our dairy and pig farmers to apply to the BDG Programme.”