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‘Farms are not being left to girls, daughters, and nieces’

“As a female farmer, I can say that there is not equality on the ground,” Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, told the Dáil in recent weeks.

She made the remark during a Dáil debate on agriculture schemes, raised by Independent TD for the Clare constituency, Michael McNamara.

Previously, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced a raft of supports to “promote gender equality in farming”, in the 2023-2027 CAP period.

The package of measures, include:

  • An increased rate of grant aid of 60% for women aged 41-55 years under Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS);
  • Women-only Knowledge Transfer (KT) Groups;
  • A call under the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) initiative for proposals to examine women’s participation in agriculture.
Women in farming

Hackett told the Dáil that based on official figures currently available, females own 13% of farms.

She commented that “there are cultural elements there, and farms are not being left to girls, daughters and nieces, but it is difficult”.

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“There are amazing female farmers out there, but it is difficult to be a female farmer. When one goes to the mart, it is 95% men, and it can be a difficult place to go.”

Hackett continued: “One can go to a knowledge transfer group. That can be challenging.”

“I have spoken to women who have gone to knowledge transfer groups who do not go anymore. One element of that is that we are putting together female-only knowledge transfer groups because that is what we have heard female farmers would like.”

“For us not to respond to what we hear from female farmers would be us not standing up for them.”

She stated that the DAFM is “trying” to make agriculture a “more equal space”, and women-only KT groups and increased grant aid rates as “some of the many” planned mechanisms.

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