Farmers Urged To Plan For Their Future

16 Apr 2021 | 08.56 am

Farmers Urged To Plan For Their Future

Ifac 'Growing Your Future' report

16 Apr 2021 | 08.56 am

A new report from farming and agribusiness advisors Ifac indicates that seven out of ten farmers want to continue buying and selling online when the pandemic is over, and that Covid-19 has accelerated farmers’ use of technology.

With 1,700 farmers across the country participating in the survey, it reveals the true impact of Covid-19 on the farming community from accelerated adoption of technology on the farm to rising social isolation and loss of community engagement.

On the state of wellbeing among farmers, 75% say they will take the Covid vaccine (with 19% unsure and 6% not planning to take a vaccine) and almost a third, at 31%, are risking burnout by not taking a holiday in the last three years or more.

Three in four say Covid-19 has negatively impacted their social life, and 42% say they don’t know who to call for support.

With regard to technology, 86% say broadband is now essential, making rural broadband an urgent requirement for business tasks, including banking. One in two of farmers use herd and breeding software on their farms.

Seven out of ten farmers are sole traders. Less than a quarter have identified a future successor, with 30% saying their farm business is not viable.

Social Isolation

Ifac chief executive John Donoghue (pictured) commented: “The findings shine a stark light on the community disengagement and social isolation that many farmers are feeling all across the country.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about the future of farming and concerns about the cost of Covid, the impact of Brexit on the wider economy, and the costs associated with tackling climate change weigh heavily on the minds of Irish farmers. 

“Despite almost a third of Irish farmers saying they want to remain involved in the farm after retirement, for the third year in a row our survey shows that farmers are slow to act in relation to succession planning. However, there is also evidence of positivity and resilience in Irish farming, with four-fifths of survey respondents saying they will still be farming in three years. 

“The big opportunity for Irish farmers to enhance their profitability and secure their futures is planning. From budgeting and succession planning to structural reviews and looking after their farm team, all are areas our team of financial experts is well-placed to support and advise on.”

The Ifac farm report, Growing Your Future, features analysis and tips for each sector including dairy, beef, sheep, tillage, poultry, pigs and forestry, plus articles and tips on CAP reform, technology, the environment, Brexit, succession, farm structures, pensions, hiring, diversification and farmer wellbeing. 

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