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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘For so long, women have been the unseen force behind so many Irish farms’ – Hackett

Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine for Land Use and Biodiversity, paid tribute to women in agriculture during her address at Claremorris Agricultural Show in Co. Mayo on Sunday, July 30th, 2022.

The minister performed the official opening at the west of Ireland-based event – on the main stage at 2 pm.

Women on Irish farms

She told crowds that “for so long, women have been the unseen force behind so many Irish farms”.

“Unrecognised, these women have kept many farm businesses, have done the books, bottle-fed calves, bottle-fed pet lambs, fed and watered contractors, reared children and raised a family.”

“They have kept the show on the road. This invisible workforce. Times are changing, and I have also been very fortunate to encounter many farm women.”

She said she has crossed paths with women with unrelenting joy, determination, and resilience, to be innovative and industrious, to diversify and drive on, even after personal trauma and difficult times.

The minister continued: “So with each new land registry, herd number or a farm payment in a woman’s name, each new qualification she gains, or each new TikTok video she posts, more women are challenging the prevailing culture and changing the face of Ireland’s rural enterprises.”

She told crowds that she “welcomes” this and looks forward to “seeing that unfold”. “I am behind you all the way,” she concluded.

Imbalance in Irish farm ownership

Previously, the minister highlighted the imbalance in farm ownership in Ireland, as featured in this article on That’s Farming.

She pointed to figures which show that only 4% of farms registered with the DAFM are in joint male and female names.

“We know that one-quarter of our farms’ workforce is women. These figures do not tally well for equality. No other occupation has such an imbalance in property ownership.”

“To rural men, we need your support in this too. I ask the farmers of Ireland why their daughters are not their successors. What can we as policymakers do to help? How do we address that cultural bias that exists?”

“It is vital that we as a country continue to deliver on the sustainable development goal of gender equality with every pillar of society supporting the others. We expect it from other countries; why not of ourselves?” she asked.

Read more on this news article.

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