Women own 13% of Irish farms and they’re older than their male counterparts

Data obtained from the Department of Agriculture’s client database for 2014 shows that 13% of Irish farms are owned by women.

The data looked farmers who received a Single Farm Payment in 2014 and the amount of eligible hectares attributed to each herd number receiving a Single Farm Payment.

The analysis excludes payments made to more than one named farmer so this means that Irish farms that were jointly owned by a husband and wife were omitted as well as farm partnerships.

A total of 111,134 Irish farms that received €1.1 billion in Single Farm Payments and owned 3.9m hectares were accounted for.

Only 13% of the 111,134 farmers were women and were slightly older than their male counterparts with an average age of 62 compared to 56 for men.

The majority of both male and female farm owners are in the 45 to 64 age group. However, 43% (5,783) of total women who were the sole owners of farms in 2014 were over 65, with 30% of these over 80 years of age which could indicate that they received the farm when they were widowed. In comparison only 28% of total male farmers were over 65.

Looking at the figures for eligible hectares by gender, women are the sole owners of just 10% (376,335 ha) of the total land eligible for Single Farm Payment with 40% (151,167 ha) of this land owned by women over 65.

Further, women receive just 8% of the €1.1 billion available in Single Farm Payments in Ireland.

Data from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey is outlined in Figure 4.14 and shows employment in the primary agriculture sector by gender since 1998.

The number of women employed in agriculture is currently estimated at11% (12,000) and has only been over 13% once (2012 Q3) in the surveyed years.

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