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Dearth of young farmers

  • 01-06-2021 10:12pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 250 ✭✭ JohnChadwick


    Just find it mildly depressing that in my area there is a real dearth of young farmers. Not only young farmers, but young farmers that would be useful to link up with and bounce ideas off.

    I mean farmers in their 20s/30s who are decision makers on their land, have power to make changes and are eager to suss out opportunities. Not like the ones that sort of conform and farm away according to the expectations of their parents, for example.

    Actually over the last decade I can't think if I had even one stimulating conversation with a young farmer who was involved in running a beef, sheep or dairy farm.

    Something I have been reflecting on.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭ Dickie10


    Very true, same around me. lots of young lads who like to drive machinery alright and most come from places with no land. theres an odd few begining to break through now but 10 years ago , nothing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,728 ✭✭✭ kk.man


    Just find it mildly depressing that in my area there is a real dearth of young farmers. Not only young farmers, but young farmers that would be useful to link up with and bounce ideas off.

    I mean farmers in their 20s/30s who are decision makers on their land, have power to make changes and are eager to suss out opportunities. Not like the ones that sort of conform and farm away according to the expectations of their parents, for example.

    Actually over the last decade I can't think if I had even one stimulating conversation with a young farmer who was involved in running a beef, sheep or dairy farm.

    Something I have been reflecting on.

    Very true... N to add if it's not a green shiny tractor or dairy cows they don't want to know.


  • Registered Users Posts: 617 ✭✭✭ Dual wheels


    The way it is now young lads want nothing only big machinery and the odd lad that might be interested in milking soon backs off when he realises that also means milking of a Sunday morning


  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭ Diarmuid B


    Yeah it’s pretty grim. Out our road I’m about the only one of about 10 farms where there’s a young person(below 25) farming the land and making the decisions. Dad has no interest and rented it out for years. I took the notion to make a go of it and see where it takes me.
    Lot of neighbours coming out with the usual “there’s no money in farming” and it’s a waste of time etc etc, yet they’re all pulling in nice grants have excellent tractors, machinery etc. Mind you very few of these man have children that help out at all so god only knows where they’ll end up in years to come.
    If you’re not inheriting a farm it’s virtually a waste of time otherwise, the price of land to buy/rent and all the start up costs is just not worth it with the money out of it at the other end


  • Registered Users Posts: 800 ✭✭✭ duffysfarm


    youngest full time farmer in our parish is my brother who is 46


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,339 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    kk.man wrote: »
    Very true... N to add if it's not a green shiny tractor or dairy cows they don't want to know.

    But kk.man, why would any young lad sign up for a life of mixed drystock farming?
    The margins are shocking. Also, if there are parents at home still involved it's not easy to be at home all the time with them. I am in my 40s and even though it is handed over a few years,I still have to battle for decisions.
    Also, a farm is a business and a high value asset. There are very few other businesses of that value that are helped by under 25s.


  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭ French Toast


    Around here it'll be 99.9% part-time suckler farmers in the next generation, some interested in improving/maintaining the farm and others less so.

    When you can go and get a job making €500 a week handy enough it's hard to blame lads. Full time farmers will be few and far between.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,908 ✭✭✭✭ _Brian


    It’s a great topic folks.

    Two problems I see contributing to this.

    In marginal areas with small farm sizes there just isn’t sufficient money to be made to perk the interest of many younger folk. I’m not sure what the solution to this is. We farm alongside work but it’s more for the enjoyment of the farming. Not sure how the next generation will see it though.

    Land transfer has fallen into a terrible position of being handed over far too late. We need a farm retirement scheme to encourage land transfer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    The best possible thing to happen would be if the hunger that drives lads to push numbers and intensity died off a bit. It would give a chance to actually pull some sort of a margin out of farming. Far too many busy fools out there


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,274 Mod ✭✭✭✭ K.G.


    _Brian wrote: »
    It’s a great topic folks.

    Two problems I see contributing to this.

    In marginal areas with small farm sizes there just isn’t sufficient money to be made to perk the interest of many younger folk. I’m not sure what the solution to this is. We farm alongside work but it’s more for the enjoyment of the farming. Not sure how the next generation will see it though.

    Land transfer has fallen into a terrible position of being handed over far too late. We need a farm retirement scheme to encourage land transfer.

    My own opinion is its the retention of land by the younger generation who want it for its asset value but not as viable farm enterprise. Margin per animal/litre/ton is dropping as it aleays has and always will but land is continuing to be held onto in blocks that are not commercial viable .at the same time i fully belive everyone can do what they like with their property but the result is that land mobility is slower than the pace of margin decline


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  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭ Biscuitus


    Diarmuid B wrote: »
    Mind you very few of these man have children that help out at all so god only knows where they’ll end up in years to come.
    If you’re not inheriting a farm it’s virtually a waste of time otherwise, the price of land to buy/rent and all the start up costs is just not worth it with the money out of it at the other end

    The only outcome is those 9 farms end up being swallowed up by one mega farm once they retire or pass away with nobody to take over them. People who are out of a job returned home and are praising their family farms with how nice it is to work outside but realistically how many of these lads and lassies will hang around. We are moving towards giant farms with huge feedlots. On the bright side it will mean fixed wages and employment with benefits for the works but the death of the family farm.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 13 delldelivery


    I've always heard the majority of people that post online have a negative mindset.

    There are thousands of young farmers, male and female, full and part time, working hard.

    I can guarantee you they don't spend any time online moaning about others, or the future of farming. Who knows what the future holds.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,097 ✭✭✭ GrasstoMilk


    The best possible thing to happen would be if the hunger that drives lads to push numbers and intensity died off a bit. It would give a chance to actually pull some sort of a margin out of farming. Far too many busy fools out there

    But how then do you make room for a second income?
    I don't see the issue with lads having hunger and drive, you need that or else you'll just do what mammy and daddy did


  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭ Biscuitus


    I've always heard the majority of people that post online have a negative mindset.

    There are thousands of young farmers, male and female, full and part time, working hard.

    I can guarantee you they don't spend any time online moaning about others, or the future of farming. Who knows what the future holds.

    The average age of male farmers in Ireland is 56 and females farmers are 62. 5-6% For every 11 farmers over 55 there is 1 farmer under 35.

    You can make snide remarks and moan about people posting all you want but that won't change the fact that farming in Ireland is in a disastrous state and only getting worse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    But how then do you make room for a second income?
    I don't see the issue with lads having hunger and drive, you need that or else you'll just do what mammy and daddy did

    If enough people don't say f**k that, there's not enough margin in it for me. Margins will only ever get tighter and tighter. If that means someone takes on a job instead of going home to farm, so be it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,532 ✭✭✭ Say my name


    Make tax concessions available to under 35 qualified farmers with green cert.

    Say no tax payable on land purchases. And then have it able to be wrote off against tax for 10 years if bought pre 35 years of age.
    Go the France model and make it obligatory that a neighbouring farmer has first refusal to buy land. After that the nearest pre 35 qualified farmer in the parish. Only then public auction.

    Ball is 100% in the governments court on the young farmer issue.
    Support (tax structure) seems to be for the company corporate trading farming model over young farmers in recent governments.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    Make tax concessions available to under 35 qualified farmers with green cert.

    Say no tax payable on land purchases. And then have it able to be wrote off against tax for 10 years if bought pre 35 years of age.
    Go the France model and make it obligatory that a neighbouring farmer has first refusal to buy land. After that the nearest pre 35 qualified farmer in the parish. Only then public auction.

    Ball is 100% in the governments court on the young farmer issue.
    Support (tax structure) seems to be for the company corporate trading farming model over young farmers in recent governments.
    All that will do is keep lads caught up in fantasyland for another few years. Ultimately if margins are ever tightening, that is the signal to ease off producing not produce more


  • Registered Users Posts: 249 ✭✭ orchard farm


    As a young full time farmer all i can say is its very tough when your bps is based on historical reference of 20 years ago long before i started farming. 100%convergence would help make farming more attractive to young people


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,532 ✭✭✭ Say my name


    All that will do is keep lads caught up in fantasyland for another few years. Ultimately if margins are ever tightening, that is the signal to ease off producing not produce more

    It'll incentivise youth in farming.

    What have we at present?
    65 year olds with multiple companies using those companies tax advantages to increase scale every year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,992 ✭✭✭ Mooooo


    What your talking off say my name is minimal in numbers tbh. The only reason to form a company is to become more tax efficient which by any type of businesses nature would come at later stage in development. Farming also seems to be one of the few areas where if people grow the business it is nearly looked down upon by the vast majority, how many other would give out about people working hard to grow their income?
    The reason young farmers are dwindling is that there are easier ways to make a living, and that they can see the vast majority of part time farms are actually drawing money away from the main income by farming, not contributing to the income and they won't have that either.
    There will inevitably be a correction as the current crop of farmers retire, those following will only take it on if there is an income to be made from it


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,166 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves


    OP, TBH it's virtually impossible to find a decent discussion group in the drystock sector. The whole drystock sector is moribund to a large extent. I was involved in a few beef discussion groups with Teagasc.

    Most lads attending were there to collect the money even down to a group of a father and three sons who used to sign each in at times. TBF they held a farm walk and were one of the better farming groups.

    Actually I think young farming discussion groups can not be the greatest as dangers are not openly discussed. As well challenges that you will face in life may not be accounted for either.

    Biggest challenges facing drystock is the non realisation that efficiency is not necessarily the best. Very little cost benefit analysis.

    Too many young farmers get involved because of machinery, very few understand stock and profitability. After 10-15years as a tractor jockey they realize the error of there ways but it's too late then. It amazes me the amount of lads that go to ag college and end up driving a tractor.

    Farming and work go well together as long as you understand that. But the farm has to be set up right. I trolled through the farm payments section. What amazed me was the a
    Punt of lads on small payments that were not in GLAS and only collected BPS payment

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭ Dinzee Conlee


    As a young full time farmer all i can say is its very tough when your bps is based on historical reference of 20 years ago long before i started farming. 100%convergence would help make farming more attractive to young people

    I dont want to get into convergence, but...
    - Convergence will only affect those already have access to existing BPS
    - Convergence will move those on high BPS down, so maybe making some farms less attractive

    I appreciate it will make your farm more profitable and maybe a lot of others, but will also affect other farms negatively...


  • Registered Users Posts: 465 ✭✭ ABitofsense


    Small suckler farm here that I do part-time. Around here me and a few of my mates all mid-30s all run our farms now. Father's have kinda stepped away. We all would have very well paid jobs outside farming which means that we don't look for anything off the farms. This means that we've invested in our farms in various ways, be it machinery, high quality heifers, cows etc. Since we don't depend on the farm like our parents would have had to, it's easy for us. I would have got a few snide comments from neighbours around here about some of my purchases but I couldn't care less.
    This is what the future is for small farms. Large majority of young people are attending university now so it won't be til people have established their careers before they have any interest in pursuing a farm part-time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 734 ✭✭✭ Paul_Mc1988


    I've always heard the majority of people that post online have a negative mindset.

    There are thousands of young farmers, male and female, full and part time, working hard.

    I can guarantee you they don't spend any time online moaning about others, or the future of farming. Who knows what the future holds.

    Nail on the head. Just a load of old bitter farmers with backwards views.

    "Why do the young lads not want to work their backs off for a low return". What a stupid question.

    Cop on you backwards weirdos. I'd say a load of them don't want to end up bitter like most of you


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,448 ✭✭✭ jetfiremuck


    Genuine question. Whats the mininum acreage that someone could make a decent income, assuming its free and clear, good land under grass at present. Stripping away subsidies, set aside etc and forestry options, to get to a base costing. Once thats set its location etc etc.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,620 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson


    Biscuitus wrote: »
    The average age of male farmers in Ireland is 56 and females farmers are 62. 5-6% For every 11 farmers over 55 there is 1 farmer under 35.

    You can make snide remarks and moan about people posting all you want but that won't change the fact that farming in Ireland is in a disastrous state and only getting worse.

    Those figure's are very stark but I don't know if there fully accurate. I'd know of a good few father/son collaborations where the son would be largely running the show but the land and herd number is still registered to the older generation. I'd haul cattle for a lot of them and I'd see who's name was on the blue card's. There's one local man who had everything in his elderly mother's name until very recently, she was still the registered owner despite being in a nursing home for the last 5 year's.

    The biggest issue I see in a lot of cases is that ownership (and often decision making) isn't transferred until the death of the previous generation. It's not much use only having a say in how the place is ran when your 50+ because your parents held the reins until there final breath. I've seen plenty of people inheriting run down farms in there 50's and 60's because the previous owner lived to be 90 and left it to nature for the last 20 years of there life rather than let anyone else work it. I've often heard that there's "40 harvests in any man". If you started in your late 20's you'd be finished at retirement age. That's not to say you have to die at 70 but if you treat your successor like a child and give him no say for the first 50 year's he's hardly going to make a go of it when your finally carried off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭ Turbohymac


    I wouldn't agree with having a well paid job which in turn props up the running costs of the farm..
    That's the single biggest problem with farming in the 21st century..the farm doesn't return enough income to pay all expenses/machinery.contractors.. feed stuff and the long list goes on..
    And then finally theres nothing left to pay the young farmer a proper wage..
    Most young people down my way have good jobs in pharmaceutical etc and have seen the light..
    They certainly wouldn't go back to farming and even the young lads that worked for agri contractors have mostly moved up to proper paying jobs..
    Now the contractors are whining about not being able to get drivers etc..
    But this again wouldn't have been an issue if they paid proper wages and stopped treating lads like slaves..
    Until theres proper return for produce small farms will just keep getting bought up by huge factory type milk and beef producers..
    And unfortunately too many people waiting to see what the future might bring to farming but getting old waiting..


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,908 ✭✭✭✭ _Brian


    Nail on the head. Just a load of old bitter farmers with backwards views.

    "Why do the young lads not want to work their backs off for a low return". What a stupid question.

    Cop on you backwards weirdos. I'd say a load of them don't want to end up bitter like most of you

    Yea, name calling isn’t exactly a pleasant form of conversation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,166 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves


    Genuine question. Whats the mininum acreage that someone could make a decent income, assuming its free and clear, good land under grass at present. Stripping away subsidies, set aside etc and forestry options, to get to a base costing. Once thats set its location etc etc.

    It s very open question. It depends on what your idea if an income is and what hours you are willing to work. It raining here at present so I sitting in the shed replying to this.

    There is income and income. Drawing can be a struggle in a farm as after tax you can end up with a moderate wage. You could run a 200 are drystock farm part time especially now the Mary's are on line.

    I be open I have this place nearly twenty years. Store to beef. Will slaughter about 60 cattle net margin is 250/head so about 15k. Old farmhouse on the place is done up and rented 8k gross per year. All payments bring in 13k but GLAS is only 1.8k of that, I intend to try to increase that to above 3k in next scheme ideally 4k but we will see.

    If the question is how much land you need for a viable income I think in drystock it about 150-200 acres. On the other hand there is not much more work if you are set up right. I know a lad with that kind of land bank, works for an MNC. Contracts in a lot of stuff even the feeding of cattle.

    Slava Ukrainii



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  • Registered Users Posts: 734 ✭✭✭ Paul_Mc1988


    _Brian wrote: »
    Yea, name calling isn’t exactly a pleasant form of conversation.

    Backwards people saying young lads don't want to work hard anymore is condescending.

    For years farmers have said there is no money in it and then farmers come on here saying that no lads want to get involved.....

    The fact of the matter is its the likes of them which has disensentivised young farmers entering.


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