During a recent interview at Monaghan County Council, we heard about how the county oversees group water schemes, about their involvement in catchment projects over the last several years, and about the different land-uses in the county. We learned about the importance of differentiating multiple land-uses, particularly different agricultural practices, when talking about rural Ireland. Poultry is a dominant agricultural sector in Monaghan unlike in Mayo and Roscommon. This interview offered us a chance to learn about the nuances of how the poultry industry operates – that are different from beef and dairy – that shape the ways that it can impact water supplies.
We also heard about a pilot scheme that the county had been involved in to help farmers develop nutrient management plans when they were not covered by other agricultural schemes. Interesting to us, this projects happened in the valley where we were staying on a local farm. Nutrient management has implications for the impacts that farming practices have on waterways, and while agricultural schemes are seen by many as a way to help farmers implement better management strategies by providing them funds, plans and other support, farmers are not always able to avail of the schemes.