The regional conference “Closing the mineral cycle at farm level - Good practices to reduce nutrient loss in Southern and Eastern Ireland” took place on 28th October 2014 at the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, Ireland. The aim of the conference was to present the results of the study “Resource efficiency in practice – Closing mineral cycles” commissioned by the DG Environment, European Commission.
The regional conference focused on the good practices which were identified as potential ways to reduce nutrient loss at the farm level and to close mineral cycles in the Southern and Eastern Ireland region.
Following presentations about nutrient management practices, knowledge transfer activities and programmes supporting reduced nutrient loss in the region, the conference initiated small-group discussions amongst the participants. The groups discussed success factors and barriers to existing nutrient management initiatives, the need for further action and support, innovative and cooperative actions that could be employed, and regionally appropriate solutions to effectively reduce nutrient loss.
In addition to the good practices presented by the project representative, further solutions for reducing nutrient losses in the region were identified during the conference. Those included:
- emphasis of both the environmental benefits and the benefits at the farm business level to encourage uptake of measures,
- knowledge transfer and awareness raising through increased advisory support and research developments,
- targeting and tailoring good practices toward the individual farming context in order to achieve the most efficient and appropriate nutrient loss reductions,
- recognition of lag-times upon implementation and long-term benefits of the good practices, and
- fostering farmer-led initiatives to ensure ownership of solutions and sustainability of adopted practices.
Around 45 participants took part in the discussions, representing regional farmers, farm advisers, farmers unions, researchers, students and civil servants from environmental protection agencies and different government levels.
Conference proceedings, including the results from the working groups and panel discussions, together with the presentations from the conference, are available on the website Resource Efficiency in Practice.
The regional conference in the Southern and Eastern Ireland region is one of four regional conferences held in the framework of the project to present and discuss the applicability of project findings with a broader group of regional stakeholders. The outcomes of the four regional conferences were also presented at the final policy conference organized in Brussels, on 18 November 2014.