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Farmers and politicians across the country are being urged to attend a hugely important water quality meeting.

Lakeland Dairies is hosting the event entitled “Farming for a Better Future: Protecting our Waters” is being held on the award-winning farm of Eugene Fitzpatrick, Lisryan, Granard, Co. Longford at 1pm on Friday 10th May.

Confirmed speakers include Dr Leanne Roche from the Department of Agriculture’s Water Quality division, Eddie Burgess from Teagasc’s Agricultural Catchment Programme, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer with Teagasc Dr Joe Patton as well as senior Lakeland Dairies staff.

Attendees will see first-hand the huge steps farmers in derogation like Eugene are taking to protect water quality. The enormous 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 some 80% of slurry is applied in spring.

Commenting on the event, Niall Matthews Lakeland Dairies Chairperson 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.”