Business Development Groups Scheme reopens for applications

Date published: 07 February 2019

CAFRE has announced the Business Development Groups Scheme will reopen for applications on Tuesday 12 February 2019 at 10:00am.

The Business Development Groups scheme will reopen at 10.00am on Tuesday 12 February 2019.

Business Development Groups (BDGs) brings together small groups of farmers and growers to consider how knowledge, cooperation and innovation can improve the performance of their businesses.

CAFRE Director, Martin McKendry, has urged all eligible farmers to apply

He said: “CAFRE launched the Business Development Groups Scheme in November 2015 and to date, it has been a real success. Feedback from farmers participating in the scheme has been very positive. Farmers particularly enjoy learning from each other at training events held on their own farms. They can use the specialist knowledge of their facilitator to help them improve the efficiency of their businesses. Farmers and growers, who have previously missed the chance to join a local Business Development Group can now submit an application.

I would encourage farmers to apply to the scheme which is designed to bring farmers together locally, to enhance their knowledge of business management, new technologies and innovative ways of working.”

Farmers who participate in the BDG Scheme will be offered the chance to attend at least six training events each year. Applicants must be willing to undertake physical and financial benchmarking, share their farm performance information with other group members and be willing to host a visit for the group. During group meetings, members discuss their technical performance and progress towards improving their business. As farmers work towards meeting their business objectives, they will have the opportunity to get credit for their work and gain a Level 3 qualification.

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

This call for applications will close on Tuesday 5 March 2019 at 4:00pm.

Knowledge Transfer through Business Development Groups (BDG) is a scheme partly funded by the EU through the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The College of Agriculture Food & Rural enterprise (CAFRE) is responsible for the delivery of the Knowledge Transfer, Innovation and Cooperation – Business Development Groups.
  2. For more information on the Business Development Groups Scheme, please email: or call Knowledge Transfer Administration on 028 9442 6790.
  3. The Business Development Groups Scheme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
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