Investment in efficient drainage schemes is a top priority for farmers in Finland, according to Olle Häggblom, a representative of the Finnish Field Drainage Association. Häggblom recently attended the Catchment Science 2023 conference in Wexford and emphasized the importance of promoting land drainage in Finland. He highlighted that poor drainage is a significant problem for farmers in the country due to the climate and clayey soils.
Water management plays a crucial role in Finland, as farmers need to effectively drain their land in order to grow grass and produce crops. The Finnish Field Drainage Association aims to promote drainage at a general level while addressing specific issues faced by farmers at a local level. Finland, as a member of the European Union, provides grant aid to farmers for land drainage schemes.
Currently, there are two forms of grant aid available in Finland for farmers implementing land drainage projects. Support is provided for arterial drainage schemes, and 40% grants are available for tile drainage projects. Häggblom attended the Wexford conference because he recognized the potential relevance of catchment science to agriculture in Finland. He emphasized the need for a catchment-scale forum that would facilitate the development and efficient execution of catchment plans.
At present, landowners in Finland work individually without considering the possible implications or synergies at a regional or national level. Häggblom believes that greater synergies between all land use sectors, including forestry and farming, are necessary. Despite forestry being a significant industry in Finland, forestry water management practices are isolated from those adopted by farmers, even though they involve the same waterways.
Water quality has become an increasingly important issue in Finland in recent years. The country has numerous lakes that are highly sensitive to eutrophication, and algal blooms regularly occur in the Baltic Sea during the summer months. The public debate surrounding these environmental concerns is evolving, but Finnish consumers remain committed to buying locally-produced food.
In conclusion, efficient land drainage is vital for farmers in Finland, given the climate and soil conditions. The Finnish Field Drainage Association aims to promote drainage at both a general and local level. Grant aid is available for land drainage schemes, and Häggblom believes that catchment science can play a crucial role in improving water management practices in Finland. The need for greater synergies between land use sectors and the growing concern for water quality are also key issues that need to be addressed.