70% of farmers don’t take a regular wage from their farm business – Agriland Survey

Almost 70% of farmers don’t take a regular wage from their farm business, Agriland’s State of the Farming Nation Survey has found.

The survey, which a total of 4,078 farmers took part in, is understood to be the largest survey of its kind of Ireland’s farming industry.

Looking at a breakdown of farm wages by enterprise; sheep farmers are worst off with 83% of them not taking a regular wage from their farm business.

Some 55% of dairy farmers, 78% of beef farmers and 65% of tillage farmers don’t take a regular wage from their farm businesses, according to the survey.

When it comes to pig and poultry farmers 56% don’t receive a regular wage from the farm business.


The survey also found that some 69% of farmers said that their farm would not be viable without EU direct payments, while 18% of farmers said that their farm would be viable without them.

A total of 13% of farmers said they weren’t sure if their farm would be viable without EU payments.

Staying with farm payments and of the farmers surveyed, 78% said that the current farm payments system wasn’t fair, while 22% said that it was fair.

Meanwhile, when it comes to farm inspections some 65% of farmers said that they found the current farm inspection process too stringent, 22% found the process to be manageable and 13% were indifferent on the issue.

The results of the survey also found that 68% of farmers would not sell their farm, 11% said they would sell their farm and 21% were not sure.

A further breakdown of these results found that 82% of farmers under the age of 30 would not sell their farm while 64% of farmers in the 31+ category said that they would not sell.

Farm Organisations

Some 66% of respondents to the Agriland survey were members of a farm organisation, the other 33% of farmers weren’t.

A total of 61% of farmers were not confident in IFA, 22% were confident in the association and 17% were neutral on the issue.

With producer levies in the news at the moment, when it comes to levies, 78% of farmers said that producer levies should be done away with, while 22% said that they should be kept.

The future of farming

According to the survey results, 40% of farmers are positive about the future.

Dairy farmers were most optimistic about the future of farming with 50% saying that they see a positive future.

The other farming sectors were not as positive with 34% of beef farmers saying that they were positive, 33% of tillage farmers were positive, and some 30% of sheep farmers were positive about the future.

Rural Crime

Some 61% of farmers were not directly affected by rural crime, according to Agriland’s survey, while the other 39% said that they were.

Machinery thefts are the number one item that has been stolen from farmers, with 57% of rural crimes resulting in machinery being taken.

Livestock accounted for 9% of thefts and diesel accounted for 39% of thefts. Some 28% of farmers were affected by rural crime in the form of a house burglary while 9% were affected by a car theft.

The survey found that 87% of farmers felt safe in their home while 13% said that they did not feel safe in their home.

Irish Food

When it comes to consumers and food, 72% of farmers said that consumers do not value Irish food, while 28% said that consumers do value Irish food.

A total of 98% of farmers said that farmers do not receive a fair share of the retail price of food. Just 2% said that they did.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia ‘could do better’ when it comes to marketing Irish food, 62% of farmers said in the survey,while 20% said that they do enough and 18% said that they don’t do enough marking of Irish food.

National Issues

As part of the Agriland State of the Farming Nation Survey, respondents were also asked a range of questions on national issues.

If there was a General Election in the morning, 46% of farmers said they would give their first preference vote to Fine Gael, 29% would give it to Fianna Fail, 4% would go to Sinn Fein and 2% would vote for the Independent Alliance.

Some 9% of farmers said that they wouldn’t vote.


Farmers were also asked on repealing the 8th amendment of the constitution;

A total of 58% of farmers said they would repeal the 8th, 17% don’t want to repeal the 8th and 25% of farmers were undecided on the issue.

On Brexit, 64% of farmers said that Brexit would have a negative impact on their farm business, 23% weren’t sure how it would impact their business and 6% said that it would have a positive impact on their farm business.

Some 8% said that Brexit would have no impact on their farm business.

Meanwhile, 48% of farmers said that they would vote for a united Ireland if there was a referendum for a 32 county Ireland.

Some 38% said that it should be left as is (Northern Ireland and the Republic) and 14% weren’t sure how they would vote.

Where farmers get their news

According to the Agriland survey, 90% of farmers consume farming news online, 63% consume it in from newspapers, 26% listen to it online, 23% watch it on television and 4% get it from other sources.

On newspapers, 47% of farmers buy a newspaper once a week, 24% rarely buy a newspaper, 18% buy a newspaper daily, 7% buy them on Sundays and 6% never buy a newspaper.