FARMING POLL 2015 - DATA: Over half of hard-pressed households forced to work off-farm

Over half of hard-pressed househo lds forced to work off-farm

More than half of farm households are forced to work off the farm to help make ends meet, according to an Irish Examiner/ICMSA national opinion poll.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association said the finding highlighted the “quite disgraceful reality” of farmers struggling to make ends meet in what group president John Comer termed an “income crisis”.

He said the increase in milk supply following the lifting of quotas as well as the “continuing disgrace that is margin-grabbing by the retail corporations” had left many farmers earning less than people working on the minimum wage and not much above those on social welfare.

In what may illustrate the changing nature of the country’s farming community and economy, the survey shows that 53% of those questioned have some form of off-farm income, through the respondent, their spouse, or another source. The incidence of farmers themselves having another job has increased from 23% in 2013 to 36%.

Of those, one fifth work in dairy and just over one quarter work in tillage, while almost half of tillage farmers questioned have another job (44%). Some 56% of farmers engaged in other types of farming also have another job off-farm.

FARMING POLL 2015 - DATA: Over half of hard-pressed households forced to work off-farm

In 25% of cases the respondent’s spouse also works off farm, and 3% said they had another source of off-farm income.

In almost two thirds (65%) of farm families aged between 35 and 44, one or other partner works off-farm — more often it is the spouse. Some In the next age bracket up, the situation is almost as marked: 59% of farm families aged between 45 and 54 have one partner working off farm; 34% of farmers in this category work off-farm.

It is only in the oldest age category, 65 and over, that the number of respondents who also had an off-farm income shrinks.There is a growth in cattle farming among younger farmers, with 63% of those under 35 citing cattle as their main type of farming. Dairy farming peaks in the 35 to 44 year old age bracket.

Follow this link for more survey findings and analysis

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