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Tag Archives: National Dairy Council

The importance of dairy in Ireland

Dairy is Ireland’s national treasure – it’s been part of Irish life and Irish culture for over 6,000 years. Today, dairy farming and dairy processing sustains 17,500 family-run dairy farms and supports 54,000 Irish jobs, which is 2.1% of national employment. Of course, this isn’t the whole story. Irish agriculture, including Irish dairy, accounts for around 37% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The government has tasked the sector with reducing those emissions, which are predominantly methane from animals (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertiliser, by 25% by 2030. In 2022, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture emissions decreased, which is good news, but there’s still a way to go. In addition, there’s an increasing focus on improving water quality and biodiversity, both of which will require continued commitment and adaptability from farmers up and down the country. All that being said, Irish milk, on a litre for litre basis, already has one of the lowest carbon footprints …

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Water of Life

For Irish dairy farmers, water quality is central to their focus on environmental sustainability Dairy farming is at the heart of Irish life – products produced by 17,500 family farms (and the 60,000 people they employ) are exported to 130 countries, and contribute some €6.8 billion to the Irish economy each year. The industry is not, however, without its challenges. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies agriculture as a major contributor to a reduction in the quality of around half of Ireland’s rivers, lakes and estuaries. Across Ireland farmers are employing innovative technologies and practices that are designed to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint, both in terms of water quality impacts and GHG emissions. The goals are challenging, but the industry is changing to address them. Water quality is key. Sediment traps are placed at the bottom of sloping farmyards to catch rain and wastewater and trees like willow and alder soak up any nutrients that might run off …

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