Survey: 75% believe young people should ‘explore options outside of farming’

The ‘state of the nation’ survey – conducted with almost 3,000 farmer participants in recent days by AgriLand and Empathy Research – has revealed that 75% of participants believe “young people in rural Ireland should explore other options outside of farming”.

2,921 respondents participated in this broad-ranging, open (online) survey, conducted through AgriLand.

The survey opened on Wednesday, September 11, and closed on Monday, September 16.

Following on from our article on levels of farm succession, as part of the study, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements other farmers have made in relation to the succession of their farm.

These included:
  • I think young people in rural Ireland should explore other options outside of farming;
  • Inheriting a farm or land is a real honour;
  • In this day and age young people would be crazy to get into farming;
  • I’d feel guilty about the stress passing my farm on to another family member may cause;
  • I often worry about what will happen to my farm when I’m no longer able to farm it;
  • I’ve advised family members against taking up or taking on any farming work;
  • I’d rather sell my farm than burden another family member with having to be a farmer;
  • I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to retire from farming as I have no successor;
  • I’m still only farming because I have no one else to take over my farm;
  • I’ve ‘invented’ a succession plan just to get access to finance from banks.

In terms of the findings, the statement farmer respondents agreed with most was “I think young people in rural Ireland should explore other options outside of farming”.

75% of participants agreed with this, while just 10% disagreed. 14% neither agreed nor disagreed, while 1% didn’t know.

However, 62% of respondents agreed that inheriting a farm or land is a real honour; 18% disagreed to some degree.

51% believed that, in this day and age, young people would be crazy to get into farming – on the other side, 31% disagreed with this.

The challenges facing farmers on succession was also brought to light by the next two statements – 42% of respondents agreed to both “I’d feel guilty about the stress passing my farm on to another family member may cause” and “I often worry about what will happen to my farm when I’m no longer able to farm it”.

36% and 34% of participants respectively disagreed with the above statements.

Meanwhile, 33% of respondents agreed with the statement that “I’ve advised family members against taking up or taking on any farming work”. This was surpassed by those who disagreed – some 45% of respondents.

The remaining statements received 21-23% responses in agreement, with the exception of the statement: “I’ve ‘invented’ a succession plan just to get access to finance from banks”; this received agreement from 10% of respondents.

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