Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has visited a farm near Fintona to see at first hand the benefits of CAFRE Business Development Groups (BDG).
The Minister visited Killymoonan Farm, home to Samantha and Niall McCarroll, first generation dairy farmers to hear about their experience as members of a CAFRE Business Development Group. They were also joined by Roy Mayers, a member of a local sheep BDG whose farm was recently appointed as an Environment Demonstration Farm and their CAFRE advisers Trevor Alcorn and Ruth Moore.
During the visit Minister Poots was updated on recent independent research which confirmed that membership of BDG’s had a financial advantage in terms of profitability for members. The research, carried out by AFBI, indicated that farmers who are members of the dairy and sheep BDGs increased their gross margin by £109.10 and £17.10 per head respectively compared to farmers that are non-members of the BDGs.
Commenting on the findings Minister Poots said: “I welcome the findings of this independent research that confirms the financial benefits in addition to the social and well-being benefits of belonging to and meeting as a group.”
“The group allow farmers to share best practice and ideas with each other. The current Agriculture Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Programmes delivered by CAFRE have been very successful in increasing the skills and knowledge of a significant number of farmers and growers with over 3,000 taking part in Business Development Groups and almost 20,000 trained through Family Farm Key Skills.”
Farmer Samantha McCarroll said: “It’s a good opportunity to share problems and look for solutions. Often the other members of the group have different approaches to dairying from our low cost approach but you can always learn from each other.”
Roy Mayers has found membership of both sheep and environmental groups beneficial and has been working closely with his CAFRE adviser, Ruth Moore, to develop a more productive but easier to manage flock based on maximising output from grass.
Roy commented: “BDG membership has given me the support of the group and to develop the environmental habitats on the farm.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo caption – Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA pictured at a recent visit to the McCarroll’s farm in Fintona to see the benefits of CAFRE Business Development Groups (BDG). Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots pictured with farmers, left to right Samantha McCarroll, Roy Mayers and Niall McCarroll.
- Currently over 3,000 farmers are members of Business Development Groups (BDGs) where participating farmers take part in meetings scheduled 6 times per year.
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