Less than 1% of farms in the country have a woman registered as an official partner, according to the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group (WASG).

Citing data received from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the group has highlighted that, overall, just 1,258 farms out of 137,000 in the country have at least one female partner officially registered.

These figures, according to the group, indicate that “a generation of women on farms are losing out“.

“The system has let down a generation of women working on farms,” chair of the WASG, Hannah Quinn-Mulligan said.  

“CSO figures clearly show that 70,000 women work on farms every day and yet only 1,258 women are registered on an official partnership. 

“We hope that the 60% Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) grant for women up to 66 years of age will help to redress the situation for that generation of women who have spent their lives working on farms without the acknowledgment of the contribution to the family farm. 

The WASG chair said that the last few weeks have “highlighted failings across society when it comes to valuing women for their individual worth”.

“We will continue to work to ensure that this does not happen on our watch,” she said.

She added that, although Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has taken on board the group’s proposed CAP measures, “there is still significant work to be done to address inclusivity”

But Irish agriculture has the opportunity to be a “shining example in society” she said. 

Her comments were echoed by the Irish Farmers’ Association representative for the group, Alice Doyle:

“We fully support the inclusion of women in partnerships and encourage more women to enter into partnerships.”  

Female farmer partnerships

The situation is different, however, when it comes to a succession farm partnership, which provides a tax credit to incentivise the transfer of land to young farmers.

Figures show that 22 out of the 66 succession partnerships have at least one female member, which highlights that the mindset for transferring land to women is gradually changing and moving in the right direction where women are considered an equal successor to men, the WASG said in a statement.

This positive news was welcomed by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association representative, Vanessa Kiely O’Connor. 

“I must admit to being taken aback by the current figure of less than 1% of women in a registered partnership,” she said. 

“On a positive note, I would be hopeful that this will change in the very near future, it is absolutely wonderful to see the succession partnership figures of 42%, as it shows a change to the old traditional mindset.” 

As the deadline for registering official farm partnerships approaches – February 11 – the WASG is urging farmers and their families to consider the benefits of recognising the contribution that women play on farms and adding them to a farm partnership. 

More information on farm partnerships is available here