IFA argues for inclusion of farmers’ own labour costs

The exclusion of farmers’ own labour costs, to date, from cost analyses has been a topic of much discussion and debate at farm level. Many farmers feel frustrated that the figures generated do not line up with reality, simply because there is no value given to their own labour.

The IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) has led an extensive, 18-month campaign for the inclusion of this calculation add-on in, for example, the Teagasc National Farm Survey, the IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman, Sean O’Leary said.

The results of the most recent National Farm Survey are being announced by Teagasc today (May 31).

“It has been a major bugbear to farmers that their own labour has gone unaccounted for, and literally not valued, for so long, in the assessment of their costs and their margins.

“The [latest] Teagasc exercise [now] makes a real attempt at assessing the average number of hours worked, and putting a value (€15/hour) on these hours,” O’Leary said.

The real value of this calculation will be seen in the National Farm Survey, claimed O’Leary.

The Profit Monitor, while a valuable benchmarking exercise which helps farmers improve their own performances, is not representative of the average overall financial performance of Irish dairy farms – unlike the National Farm Survey.

The “full picture” of farming will now be shown to consumers according to O’Leary, who concluded: “It is important that we would continue to be able to compare our competitiveness on production costs using the long-established international procedures and protocols.

“However, to present the buyers of our products, including retailers, the full picture of the economics of farming, it is crucial that we would have a credible assessment of farmers’ own labour – which is what this new Teagasc exercise gives us.”