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Water Quality Challenges for Farmers Tackled at Wexford Conference

Delivering good water quality, while meeting the world food demand, is the focus of the 3-day Catchment Science 2015 Conference which starts in Wexford today, Monday, 28 September. Irish and international experts will exchange the latest ideas on how farming can deliver on these twin challenges.

A multidisciplinary team of speakers will present the latest research on farm management, water quality, economics and practice adoption. Presentations will cover work from New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Europe and Ireland. The conference also includes a poster session, a policy workshop and field trips to two research catchments.

The conference follows on from Catchment Science 2011 held in Dublin and, like that, is organised by the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP). This programme, run by Teagasc and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was established to evaluate the Nitrates Regulations introduced in 2006.

Launching the conference, Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, said: “This conference provides an excellent opportunity to develop our thinking on how policy can be shaped to meet the economic and environmental targets set out for Irish farming in Food Harvest 2020, Food Wise 2025 and EU Directives. I’m delighted to note the range of interests represented by the attendees and I’m sure that the interaction among them will enhance the impact of the conference significantly.”

Over 200 delegates are attending the conference representing private and public sector agencies concerned with the protection and improvement of water quality here and abroad. The ACP depends for its success on the support and participation of farmers in the programme’s six research catchments and they are represented among the speakers and the delegates too. Cork dairy farmer, John Walsh, will address the conference and explain how he manages his farm to meet the challenge of protecting water quality, while expanding milk production post-quotas.

For further detail go to Agricultural Catchments