Only third of farmers make enough to live on
Published 18/07/2013 | 05:00
There was yet another example of a lucky farmer buying back land that he sold during the peak of the boom hitting the headlines during the week.
Even NAMA weren't able to get a 93pc haircut on the assets they bought, but that's exactly what that Limerick farmer achieved when he bought the €136,000/ac land back at just over €10,000/ac.
But there are other farmers hovering up land, without the assistance of winning Lotto tickets or the Celtic tiger equivalent.
I heard of two separate cases last week of farmers in both the veg and dairy sectors buying up more than 200ac each in the southeast of the country in the last few years. It proves that the best operators are able to make serious money at what they do.
It sounds counter intuitive given that survey after survey from the State agri-advisory body, Teagasc, highlights that just over a third of the country's most productive farms are actually viable.
The annual national farm survey looks at the viability of almost 80,000 farms that account for 93pc of the country's output.
The 2012 report concluded that only 36pc were able to return an agricultural wage for the family members involved and a 5pc return on the assets employed, excluding land. It's pretty dismal by any standards.
But the averages and constant lobbying by farm groups hide the fact that the premier league of farming has a lot of highly profitable operators.