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Over 3,300 farmers apply to join Business Development Groups

15 December, 2015 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced that 3,313 applications have been submitted to join the Business Development Groups (BDG) programme. 

Minister O’Neill stated: “This is very positive news for our industry in the north. Farmers have demonstrated in great numbers their willingness and desire to improve the performance of their farm business.”

Business Development Groups (BDG) is part-funded through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the key aims of the scheme are to help farmers improve their technical and business efficiency, assist with long term planning of their farm business and improve access to new technologies and innovative ways of working. 

The Minister went on to say: “The Business Development Groups Scheme is the first scheme to be made available under the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS). The FBIS will offer further assistance to farm businesses over the next five years. The level of interest to date demonstrates an industry eager to seize the opportunities which the Rural Development Programme will bring.”

Farmers will find out early in the new year if their application to the scheme has been successful with the first meetings planned to take place in the spring.

The Minister added that the next phase of the FBIS will be the £200million capital grant element ýwhich will assist farmers to make significant investment on their farms to improve production and efficiency with the construction of new farm buildings and the purchase of new technology and machinery. 

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