RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Series 24: Programme 13

Ear to the Ground

Community Broadband
Rural Broadband, or the lack of it, is one of the most important issues for many rural dwellers at the moment. Many feel that it is the single biggest element in holding back any chance of economic growth or future development in the country. In West Waterford one community has given up waiting for the government to roll out a national programme, and so have set up their own broadband scheme involving 100 families. Helen Carroll travelled to Clashmore to see what impact the arrival of high-speed broadband has had on farming, business and society, and finds a community transformed.

Nursery Plants
Kilkenny farmer Pat Fitzgerald has taken grass growing to a whole new level. He has developed,propagated, and marketed his patented varieties of ornamental grasses all over the world. His micropropagation laboratory does cutting edge research into developing new varieties of sweet potato and other food crops, while the nurseries employ leading plant scientists to enhance their growth. Darragh McCullough visits rural Thomastown to find out the future of plant propagation.

Leitrim Biodiversity
What if farmers could be paid to produce not just food from their land, but also public goods such as clean water, air and biodiversity? Under current Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), the emphasis has always been on productivity and intensive farming. More marginal land has often been regarded as worthless, but these areas are rich natural habitats and can be just as productive, in their own ways, and now an EU funded pilot project is tapping into that. Ella Mc Sweeney went to Leitrim to meet with some of the people involved in the project and to learn how farming in accordance with nature can be financially, environmentally and personally rewarding.

Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ

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