Knowledge transfer through Business Development Groups (BDG) is a new scheme which will be funded through the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme. The scheme will use a group approach to improve the technical efficiency of farm businesses and will also offer participants the opportunity to gain a level 3 qualification.

How will Business Development Groups work?

Discussion groups have been used throughout the world, in all agricultural sectors, as a way to improve farm business performance. They provide a forum for peer learning, sharing ideas and an opportunity to keep up-to-date with new technology.

Each BDG will comprise of 15 – 20 like-minded farmers who will meet up to eight times a year to focus on the topics agreed by the group. The group will be facilitated by a CAFRE Development Advisor and activities will include on-farm meetings, demonstrations and skills training.

Farmers participating in the scheme will benchmark their business to identify areas that have the potential to be improved. A business development plan will be created to identify the actions to be taken to improve the technical efficiency of the business and improve the sustainability of the farm.
As participants work to improve the efficiency of their businesses, they will be awarded credits that will build towards gaining a level 3 qualification.

What are the benefits to farmers?

  • 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 individuals

Important information

Potential applicants should read the following documents before applying to join a Business Development Group:

How to apply

The Business Development Groups scheme is now closed for applications.

Where can you find out more information?

For more information on Business Development Groups, please contact us at

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