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HomeFarming News‘The system has let down a generation of women working on farms’
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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‘The system has let down a generation of women working on farms’

Less than 1% of farms in Ireland have a woman registered as an official partner.

That is according to figures the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group (WASG) has obtained.  

Overall, just 1,258 farms out of 137,000 in the country have at least one female partner officially registered.

According to the group’s chair, Hannah Quinn-Mulligan, “the system has let down a generation of women working on farms”.

“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.”

Furthermore, CSO figures show that women own just 13% of farms in the country.

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Farms in Ireland 

The group hopes the 60% 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 acknowledgement of the contribution to the family farm.

“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.”

“While Minister McConalogue has taken on board our proposed CAP measures, there is still significant work to be done to address inclusivity. Irish agriculture has the opportunity to be a shining example in society,” Quinn-Mulligan added.

The IFA representative for the group, Alice Doyle, echoed her comments. She said that the farm organisation “fully supports” the inclusion of women in partnerships and wishes to encourage more women to enter into partnerships.

Succession farm partnerships

Doyle said the situation is “different” when it comes to succession farm partnerships, which provides a tax credit to incentivise land transfer to young farmers.

Succession farm partnerships provide a €5,000 tax credit over five years when a farm is registered with a farmer and young trained farmer until they are 40.

Figures show that 22 out of the 66 succession partnerships have at least one female member.

She said that this “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 ICMSA representative, Vanessa Kiely O’Connor, welcomed the news.

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

“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%). It shows a change to the old traditional mindset.”

As the deadline for registering official farm partnerships approaches on February 1tth, the WASG urges farmers and their families to consider the benefits of recognising the contribution that women play on farms and adding them to a farm partnership.

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