The Waterford farmer is delighted to have Prince Charles visit despite being in the middle of calving season.

Despite being in the middle of calving season, farmer Shane Fitzgerald was “delighted” to welcome Prince Charles to his farm today.

The dairy farmer, who milks 200 cows at the family farm near Portlaw, said Prince Charles told him he was impressed with the environmental measures Shane has implemented on the farm, including planting hedges to provide shelter for nesting birds and protect waterways.

“He recognized that we are trying to do our best (to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions) and it will take time for all farmers to become carbon neutral, but I think it’s important for people to realize that farmers are trying to do the right thing.

Prince Charles told Shane that he has spent his life “getting people to plant hedges” after being shown the range of hedges that have been planted at the farm in recent years to improve biodiversity .

The farm also hosts a flock of whooper swans each winter and spring. Shane has also incorporated wildflower banks and maintained pastures with a variety of grasses to enhance biodiversity.

The family also gave Charles honey from beehives on the farm. “A friend of mine is a beekeeper and he has beehives here on the farm. It’s Kilmagemogue honey.

Shane heard VIP might be visiting a few weeks ago but wasn’t sure if the visit would go ahead until recently. “I think this is the first time he visits a private farm, it was always a research farm, not a working farm like this.

“All year round we always try to make things look nice and a lot of people come to the farm. We are always aware that the farm is doing well.

“It’s all about public perception… there’s so much negativity in farming and we get so much bad press about the environment. We have 200 cows on the farm and a lot of people say this is an industrial farm or a factory farm. This is not the case at all. There is no such thing as an industrial farm in Ireland. We are all family farms and I always say we are all stewards of the land. Each of us wants to leave the farm a better place for the next generation, leave the land a better place for the next generation.”

“I’m always trying to bridge that gap between the public and agriculture, and something like today was a great opportunity to do that.”

Shane took over management of the family farm in 2016 and now farms with partner Kate and father John, saying it was a “proud day for the family and for the whole agribusiness”. The Waterford farmer is delighted to have Prince Charles visit despite being in the middle of calving season.

Fry Electronics Team

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