Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 18 November 2017

Over 70pc of farm families face succession problems

There is widespread uncertainty over who will take over the family farm
There is widespread uncertainty over who will take over the family farm
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A survey of over 1,000 farmers by FarmIreland.ie shows that 71pc of farmers with children do not know if they have anyone to take over their farm.

The figures also show that 35pc of respondents over 65 years of age do not have any children working on the farm or planning on going into farming.

It also shows that 47pc of farmers in Ireland would not encourage their children to go farming. Further, when sectors are looked at, the survey found that 57pc of dairy farmers do not have children working on the farm or planning to go farming.

That figure is even more startling among beef farmers, as 75pc do not have a child working on the farm or planing to work on the farm.

Further, 54pc of farmers in the West and North West said they would not encourage their children to go farming.

Dairy farmers were more positive about encouraging their children to go into farming, with 60pc of dairy farmers saying they would encourage their children to go farming.

Most farmers cited poor incomes as the deciding factor in not encouraging their children to take up farming. Recent research from Teagasc shows that income varies quite considerably by farm system.

Profitable

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Dairy farms are consistently the most profitable farms with an average income of €62,141 in 2015. Cattle rearing farms have the lowest average farm income at €12,660 in 2015.

Respondents to the FarmIreland.ie survey were strongly in favour of not selling their farms. Overall, 84pc said they would not consider selling their farm, while just 16pc said they would consider it.

Those oldest age bracket (65+) reflected the national average and were less conservative about selling the farm than some younger farmers. 94pc of the youngest age bracket (18-34 year olds) said they would not consider selling the farm.

Geographically, farmers in the East/Midlands are most likely to consider selling their farm, with 19pc saying they would consider selling up.

This compares to just 13pc of farmers in the West/Northwest saying they would consider selling their farms.

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