The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has taken issue with fees being charged by Teagasc for farmers participating in the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Groups. National Chair Vincent Roddy outlined how farmers have being contacting the organisation following invoices from Teagasc which references the KT Groups.
“Currently the Department of Agriculture pays €500 per annum for each participant, to any Facilitator which would include Teagasc as part of their overall contract” stated Mr Roddy. This he continued “should be more than sufficient for a facilitator, especially when you consider that some participants/farmers who receive (€750/year) will not themselves have €500 left after the vet has being paid for the Animal Health Plan”
While Teagasc may point to the fact that this is a membership fee, it would seem from those that have contacted the INHFA they were unaware of this practice and in most cases would not have being part of a Teagasc KT Group if they were going to have to pay this additional fee. This point added Mr Roddy “is quite reasonable, as Teagasc were already being well paid directly from the Department and surely they should not expect to get a second payment, irrespective of how they disguise it when private advisors/facilitators were very happy with the €500 fee”.
Mr Roddy concluded by requesting the Department of Agriculture to review this as it may breach the terms and conditions of the scheme and encouraged Teagasc to cancel any invoices issued, apologise to all the farmers and refund any farmer that paid them for inclusion in their KT Group.