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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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‘It is time to take the role of women farmers out of the shadows’

“It is time to take the role of women farmers out of the shadows and put them firmly in the spotlight,” according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who addressed today’s (Wednesday), National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture.

The dialogue is being led by former Tánaiste and Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan, and features panel discussions and workshops, as well as speakers including the former German Minister for Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, Glanbia plc CEO, Siobhán Talbot, Minister McConalogue as well as his colleagues Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon.

According to the minister, the objective of the dialogue is to gather views to “feed” into future national policy on the issue of greater gender equality in agriculture.

27% of farm workers are female

Minister McConalogue, addressing the dialogue, said,

“Of the nearly 280,000 people working on farms in Ireland, some 27% (75,113) are female.”

“However, of the over 130,000 farm holders, just 13% (16,900) are female.”

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“Fewer than half of farm holders have a succession plan in place and 83% of identified successors are male,” he told the meeting.

He pointed to several measures in the Ireland’s new CAP Strategic Plan which will, he believe, support greater gender equality.

However, he is of the view to meet our Food Vision 2030 goals of greater environmental, economic and social sustainability, greater women’s participation is “crucial”.

“We cannot meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead if we continue to have an under-representation of women, both within farming and across the sector,” he added.

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.
Mart a ‘difficult’ place to go

Last month, we reported that Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, stated  “there are cultural elements there, and farms are not being left to girls, daughters and nieces, but it is difficult”.

“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.”

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

Read more on this news story.

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