'I was expected to be a teacher, nurse ...but not a farmer'
A young female farmer has said a new EU report on women's access to agriculture can help challenge "the financial burden" on women entering the industry.
A new report by the Agriculture and Women's Rights Committees of the European Parliament said women entering farming is key to sustaining populations in rural areas and should become a top priority in future rural development policies.
Karen Elliffe (27), from Ballinagore in Co Westmeath, is the 2016 Macra Queen of the Land and she hopes the report will tackle the perception that "women can't farm".
"Farming was never an occupation that was said to me going through school. It was more expected that you would become a teacher or a nurse.
"Even my career guidance teacher said it was uncommon and unusual when I wanted to get involved, but for me it is a way of life and a vocation," she said.
Ms Elliffe said the report "is just common sense and is great to hear due to the financial burden and personal burden taken on".
"I am quite lucky because I am an only child, but there is an expectation there that the farm will always go to the oldest son even if there is a daughter there," she said.
The report said the EU should promote women's farm ownership or co-ownership, facilitate equitable access to land, ensure inheritance rights and facilitate access to credit.