Why older farmers find it impossible to imagine life without their farm

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Older farmers find it almost impossible to visualise life without the farm in their life, says new Teagasc survey which looks at challenges facing older farmers who are considering whether they should transfer their land to the next generation.

The Teagasc Transfer the Family Farm study which was conducted through a series of questionnaires shows that emotional factors rather than economic factors guide older farmers decisions on the future of their farm and that sometimes the emotional issues are so hard to deal with that they become neglected altogether.

The study highlighted that older farmers were found to have a deep rooted familiarity and sense of belonging in their home environment in later life due to their connection with their farm.

It also found that they “find it almost impossible to visualise what their lives would be like if they no longer lived on the farm or worked there.”

Findings showed that the farm provided farmers with a sense of social connectedness within the farming community and is a symbol of the farmer’s achievements over a lifetime that can be difficult for them to let go.

The study concluded that farming is more than an economic activity for farmers, with emotional issues having more of an impact than economic decisions on how a farmer should go forward with their farm in the future.

The survey called for a nationwide organisation to be set up to allow older farmers to remain linked with their farms in the event that they do transfer it to the next generation. This would contribute to their overall sense of worth and could collaborate with their younger counterparts Macra na Feirme.

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