IFA reaction to EPA Report

IFA President Francie Gorman said that farmers are very focused on improving water quality. Reacting to the EPA Report launched recently, he said there is a relentless focus among farmers to make changes to improve and achieve better water quality.

“Teagasc launched a new campaign ‘Better Farming for Water’ and all farmers must play their part in this,” he said.

“Our water quality is in a relatively good position compared to other EU countries. However, there is a determined and robust approach across the whole sector to minimise the impact of food production on our waterways”.

The IFA President said there is an unprecedented level of investment and adoption of new measures on farms: “For example, inorganic fertiliser usage on farms is down approximately 30% in two years,” he said.

However, he said that some initiatives individual farmers want to undertake on farms around slurry/nutrient storage were being frustrated by delays in DAFM grant approvals and planning delays.

“We must remove these roadblocks and ensure that farmers can move quickly to make capital investments,” he commented.

“It’s about the right measures in the right places at the right time and the right rate, to ensure that nutrients are taken up by grass and crops. We are determined to reduce nutrient loss to deliver better water quality.

“All the dairy co-ops are working closely with their farmer suppliers in making this central to everything. In fact, co-ops make part of the payment to farmers conditional on sustainability elements, including safeguarding our water quality”.

Francie Gorman said he had no doubt that the work being done will deliver dividends: “We cannot have any let-up in our efforts. No more than our work to reduce emissions, this has to be sustained and results-driven,” he concluded.