More young people farming and working on farms is key to delivering on the missions set out in the Food Vision 2030 strategy, Macra has said.

Macra president John Keane was speaking after a conference on the strategy which took place in Dublin Castle today (Thursday, October 13).

The conference was addressed by, among others, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett, who both referenced sustaining the sector into the future.

Mission 2 of the strategy is to create “Viable and Resilient Primary Producers, with Enhanced Wellbeing”.

Keane said: “A core element of sustainability is the need to support generational renewal across farm enterprises.”

“Young farmers in Ireland are jointly the most educated farmers across the EU together with France, and we completely understand the need to sustain the sector in terms of the environment and also in terms of delivering on demographic change on-farm,” Keane added.

The Macra president said that enhancing the wellbeing of all farmers is also key to retaining and attracting new people into the sector.

“Studies published earlier this week by UCD (University College Dublin) found stark realities in relation to farmers’ current wellbeing.

“To deliver the ambition set out in Food Vision 2030, it is clear that significant investment is needed in driving generational renewal with new measures needed to support this change and also investing in support frameworks and services that help farmers deal with pressures associated with farming,” Keane commented.

He added: “The future of the agriculture sector in Ireland is dependent on delivering a generational change on farm. If that is successful young farmers and innovators will deliver the environmental obligations.”

Speaking at the event today, the Taoiseach said the agri-food industry is essential to Ireland’s economy but it is at a crossroads.

The Taoiseach said global demand for high-quality food was increasing around the world and this has created a significant opportunity for Ireland with its long-established reputation for producing high-quality food and drink.