'Matchmaking' service boosting farm production


Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Land and farm collaboration between young trained farmers and older farmers is delivering a 65pc increase in farm production on average, according to Macra na Feirme's 2019 Land Mobility Report.

Macra na Feirme's Land Mobility programme - which seeks to facilitate new collaborative arrangements such as farm partnerships, shared farming and long-term leasing - has sparked 521 arrangements since it began in 2014.

This has resulted in approximately 47,000 acres being farmed by younger trained farmers in such arrangements in the last five years.

The report found that 80pc of these arrangements involved a trained farmer under 40 with collaboration delivering a 65pc increase in production on average. On average, two people were gainfully employed while three people were getting an income per farm.

In 55pc of cases, landowners had no known potential collaborator in mind before entering the programme.

The average farm size taking part was 90 acres, while long-term leasing has proved to be the most popular arrangement.

Due to the abolition of milk quotas, dairying has seen the most participants at 61pc. However, there has been engagement across all sectors, with 25pc of farms involved being beef, 12pc tillage and 2pc sheep.

Speaking at the report launch, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that the Land Mobility programme was "essentially a match-making service" that provides a succession path for farmers.

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Meanwhile, Macra president Thomas Duffy stated that: "The fact that the service has provided facilitation for more than 500 arrangements is a testament to the hard work of a great many people, the value of the service in terms of generational renewal and opportunities for young farmers cannot be underestimated."

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