Thirty Ag sustainability advisors to be appointed to improve water quality

The River Boyne at Dowth, near Drogheda Picture: Fennell Photography
The River Boyne at Dowth, near Drogheda Picture: Fennell Photography

A jointly-funded collaboration between Government and industry to promote and encourage sustainable farming while meeting stringent water quality requirements was launched by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing recently.

The 'Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme' is a four-year trial initiative aimed at achieving improvement in water quality. It will involve the establishment of 30 agricultural sustainability advisors.

The new advisors will work with farmers to protect and improve water quality. The Programme will draw on the experience and resources of the two Departments, the local authorities, the Dairy Co-ops, Teagasc, Bord Bia and the farm organisations.

The 2017 EPA water quality report shows that only 57pc of rivers are meeting the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. It is hoped that the new advisory programme will encourage farmers to prevent water pollution, with agriculture among the areas linked to pollution.

With the ever-expanding dairy industry increasing its environmental impact, Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland hopes the knowledge transfer approach will help farmers realise that "farmer incomes and environmental outcomes are very much connected".

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