Fewer than 6% of farmers under 35, says Coveney

Minister for Agriculture figure ‘no basis for the kind of growth’ needed in sector

Fewer than 6 per cent of farmers are under the age of 35 in Ireland, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

“That is no basis for the kind of growth and expansion we want for this sector,” he added. “Everybody agrees we need more young farmers.”

The Minister for was replying to Charlie McConalogue (FF), who asked him what his plans were, under the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) reform proposals, to assist young farmers who had been farming for more than five years to build a viable farming enterprise.

The Minister said what they were trying to do, in terms of the 25 per cent top-up on single farm payments up to 50 hectares, was to give people a good start in farming and allow them invest in building up their herds and yards and so on.


“If a person is 38 years of age and he or she has been in farming since he or she was 25 years, are they in the same category as a person who is 38 years and has been farming since they were 36 years?,” he added.

The Minister said more was being done for young farmers in this Cap reform than ever before. That was because of a stand taken to support the European Commission and approve mandatory positive discrimination.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times