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Farmers and politicians urged to attend Lakeland Dairies water-quality event

Farmers and politicians across the country are being urged to attend a water-quality meeting hosted by Lakeland Dairies.

The event, Farming for a Better Future: Protecting our Waters, will be held on the award-winning farm of Eugene Fitzpatrick, Lisryan, Granard, Co. Longford on May 10. Confirmed speakers include Dr Leanne Roche from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s water-quality division; Eddie Burgess from Teagasc’s Agricultural Catchment Programme; Dr Joe Patton, head of dairy knowledge transfer with Teagasc; as well as senior Lakeland Dairies staff.
Attendees will see first-hand the steps that farmers in derogation, like Eugene, are taking to protect water quality. The importance of the entire dairy industry in driving a balanced regional economy will also be highlighted at the event.
Eugene and the Fitzpatrick family, who previously won the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Award and also represented the co-op at the Kerrygold/NDC Quality Milk Awards, are excellent hosts for the event given their continued commitment to improving water quality on their own farm.
Eugene is a derogation farmer and has a highly progressive approach towards slurry management and nitrogen efficiency. Eugene applies all his slurry using a dribble bar and around 80 per cent of slurry is applied in spring.
Commenting on the event, Niall Matthews Lakeland Dairies chair said: “The entire foundation of our world-class dairy industry is built on protecting and enhancing our water quality. As a co-op and as an industry, we are constantly striving to make improvements to our water quality, which is already good by EU standards.
“We are urging all farmers, politicians and anyone with an interest in agriculture and the rural economy to attend this critical event. Our world-class dairy industry is the cornerstone of rural economies across the country. Money that is generated locally is spent and invested locally.
“Therefore, it is of critical importance that we retain the Nitrates Derogation in order to protect our truly unique pasture-based grazing system. Dairying breathes life in rural communities in every county in the country and it is critical it is allowed to do continue to do so.” Attendees should park at Streete Parish Park, Eircode N91 RC43 from where a shuttle bus will be provided.