Expansion top priority for farming youngsters
Farm expansion is top of the agenda for Ireland's young farmers, according to a new survey of Macra na Feirme members.
A staggering 86pc of young dairy farmers surveyed by the organisation over the past fortnight intend to expand their farm enterprise in the coming years.
Young beef farmers are also determined to expand, with 75pc of those surveyed intending to increase production. Some 70pc of young sheep farmers, 62pc of young tillage farmers, 52pc of pig farmers and half of the young poultry producers surveyed also intend to expand their production.
While most of the farmers surveyed say they intend to expand by 6-20pc, there are also some very ambitious expansion plans in the pipeline.
One-quarter of the young dairy farmers intend to increase production by 40pc or more in the next two years, while almost 14pc of young beef farmers intend to boost production by the same margin.
The driving force behind some of these expansion plans is undoubtedly the overwhelmingly upbeat mood in agriculture at the moment.
The survey found that more than 80pc of Macra's members believe that the outlook for Irish agriculture is positive.
Demonstrating a huge vote of confidence in the sector, 84.2pc of Macra members surveyed said the outlook for Irish agriculture was good or very good. Just 10.6pc of those surveyed said the future was not good, while 4.2pc were undecided.