Almost 80% of farmers believe their farm would not be viable without EU direct payments, accoring to a survey of almost 3,000 participants carried out in the last week by AgriLand and AgriMatters.ie.
As the National Ploughing Championships go centre stage for the next three days, the study has highlighted a number of key points, including, the EU payments, views on the beef crisis and succession planning.
- 47% of beef farmer respondents who agree that if the current beef crisis continues, they won’t be able to last much longer, claim that they have less than two years before they are forced to stop farming;
- 63% are not optimistic about the future outlook for farming;
- 33% have identified a successor for their farms;
- Only 7% believe farmers have a big influence on the beef price paid, compared to 84% who believe that meat processors have a big influence;
- 29% believe the biggest threat facing farming in Ireland is that it’s “not profitable any more”, with 28% saying the biggest threat is the “price you receive for produce”.
- 51% of participants believe “in this day and age young people would be crazy to go into farming”;
- 87% agree that farming can be a very isolating/lonely profession;
- 47% of beef farmer respondents would feel guilty about the stress passing on a farm would cause to another family member;
2,921 respondents participated in this broad-ranging, open (online) survey, conducted through AgriLand.
The survey opened on Thursday, September 12, and closed on Monday, September 16.
Farmers responding to the survey expressed their views on: politics – both agricultural and in a wider context; the performance of figure-heads in Irish farming; the future prospects of farming in Ireland; beef prices; financial concerns, succession planning; and renewable energy.
Only 17% of farmer participants replied to “yes” to the question: “Do you think your farm would be viable without EU direct payments.”
The remaining 78% said “no”; their farm would not be viable. A further 5% said that they were not sure or don’t know.
25% of full-time farming respondents said their farm would be viable without payments, compared to just 5% of part-time participants, with 68% and 90% respectively saying they would not be.
69% of beef farmer respondents agreed to some degree that “If the current beef crisis continues, I won’t be able to last much longer”.
Rather grimly, 47% of beef farmers who agreed with this statement claim that they believe that they have less than two years before they are forced to stop farming. 32% believe they have 1-2 years left; while a further 15% believe they have a year or less – before they are forced out.
20% said they have more than 2 years, while a further 34% said they don’t know.
63% of respondents revealed that they are not optimistic about the future outlook for farming.
Finally, just 33% of participants have identified a successor for their farm. 59% have not yet identified a successor, while a further 8% do not know.
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