A Lakeland Dairies delegation raised concerns over the potential loss of the nitrates derogation with Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan recently.

The delegation was led by chair Niall Matthews and CEO Colin Kelly, to discuss a range of issues facing its suppliers.

“We clearly laid out the concerns our farmers have regarding national climate targets and we also left the minister in no doubt regarding the steps we are already taking to protect and enhance water quality across our catchment area.

“We have provided considerable resources to ASSAP as well as other climate and water quality initiatives,” Matthews said. Lakeland farmers, he added, are concerned regarding recent policy changes and the direction of travel the dairy industry is going in.

“There is a huge amount of unease and worry among our suppliers and we wanted to ensure the minister was acutely aware of these concerns,” he said. The derogation, he added, is a key component of the industry and its loss would be unimaginable, especially in light of the huge work being carried out at farm and processor level to enhance water quality.