Lakeland Dairies is urging farmers and politicians across the country to attend an upcoming water quality meeting.

The processor is hosting the event entitled “Farming for a Better Future: Protecting our Waters” on the award-winning farm of Eugene Fitzpatrick, Lisryan, Granard, Co. Longford at 1:00p.m on Friday, May 10.

Speakers at the event will include Dr. Leanne Roche from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM’s) qater quality division and Eddie Burgess from Teagasc’s Agricultural Catchment Programme.

The head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer with Teagasc Dr. Joe Patton, along with senior Lakeland Dairies staff will also address the event.

Water quality

The event will showcase how nitrates derogation farmers, such as Eugene Fitzpatrick, are working to protect water quality.

Eugene and the Fitzpatrick family previously won the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Award and also represented the co-op at the Kerrygold / NDC Quality Milk Awards.

Eugene adopts a “highly progressive” approach towards slurry management and nitrogen (N) efficiency.

The farmer applies all his slurry using a dribble bar and some 80% of slurry is applied in spring.

The importance of the entire dairy industry in driving a balanced regional economy will also be highlighted.

Commenting on the upcoming 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,” Matthews added.

Lakeland has encouraged those planning to attend the event to part at Streete Parish Park, (Eircode N91 RC43) from where a shuttle bus will bring them to the farm.