macraThe Macra annual conference takes place this weekend with a title of ‘Young Farmers – The New Environmentalists’ as its theme.

Tomorrow, in Co. Laois the day starts with and beef and tillage farm walks and is followed in the afternoon by a conference with Mairead McGuinness and Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, headlining the afternoon session.

Kieran O’Dowd, Macra National President, speaking ahead of the opening said that with the advent of water charges for everyone now it behoves us all to conserve and use water in an efficient manner.

“Many farmers have drilled their own wells and also implemented rainwater harvesting on their farms.  More of them have looked at more efficient ways to conserve and use energy which, not alone will benefit the farmers bottom line, but also will ensure that there will be a reduced impact on the environment. Young farmers, who are by definition young people, have grown up in an era where reduce, reuse and recycle is being encouraged and thus they are more amenable to measures that will protect the environment and ensure the efficient use of scare resources.”

Other speakers on Saturday include Sean Coughlan, who is Chairman of Macra’s Agricultural Affairs Committee and is also a mixed-stock farmer in Co. Mayo as well as a Nuffield Scholar; James Nix, Director of Policy and Operations with An Táisce; and Matteo Bartolini, from Italy, President of CEJA.