Applications now opened for Business Development Groups (BDG) Scheme

Date published: 18 November 2016

The Business Development Groups (BDG) Scheme has reopened to eligible dairy and pig farmers. Applications can be submitted from Wednesday 16 November to 4pm on Wednesday 30 November 2016. Up to 250 dairy farmers and 30 pig producers will join the scheme.

Alan Agnew CAFRE Senior Dairying Adviser with members of the Causeway Dairying BDG on the farm of Jonathan Lyons, Coleraine

Business Development Groups is part-funded through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the scheme aims 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. Key to the success of the programme is ensuring that the right farmers are in the right groups. Participants will have one opportunity to change the group they have been allocated to if they find they have little in common with the other group members.

New entrants will be registered to the scheme at their first training event which will take place early in the New Year. This event will provide an opportunity for group members to meet each other and their facilitator to discuss the requirements of and the further roll out of the scheme.

This tranche of applications is open to dairy and pig farmers only. However, CAFRE will continually review the membership of BDGs and anticipate that future calls for applications to other sectors will be required to maintain the balance within the scheme and to respond to the needs of the industry.

To make an application to the Business Development Group scheme and for further information visit the CAFRE website or call 028 9442 6790 or email:

DAERA will continue to offer support to farmers who have chosen not to be part of the BDG programme. Farm Family Key Skills, a sister programme to BDG’s, which will be delivered through CAFRE, will provide farmers outside of Groups with training across four core areas which are; animal health, health and safety, business planning and DAERA IT systems.

CAFRE delivers Farm Advisory Service (FAS) support to all farmers through the delivery of training and knowledge and technology transfer events, increased opportunity to use on-line decision support tools and through the issue of regular newsletters.

The Farm Advisory Service (FAS) offers advice to help farmers understand and meet the requirements of Cross Compliance, Greening (the Basic Payments Scheme) and the European Directives on both water protection and sustainable pesticide use.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Applications to the BDG scheme can be submitted from 10.00am on Wednesday 16 November 2016 to 4.00pm on Wednesday 30 November 2016.
  2. The Business Development Group Scheme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
  3. Follow us on Twitter: @daera_ni
  4. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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