The number of female farmers in Ireland increased marginally in the 10 years to 2020, with 18,101 female farmers in Ireland, the census of agriculture for 2020 shows.
The number is up just 1% on 2010 and women are the farm holders of 13.4% of farms. The Central Statistics Office (CSO), which carried out the census, defines a farm holder as the legal owner of a family farm.
In practical terms, the 1% increase equates to an increase of 756 farmers between 2010 and 2020.
The stand-out figure in the census shows that the vast majority of this number (501) are under the age of 35, a 78.5% increase in young female farmers in the 10 years. This compared with a 1.9% increase in male farmers in the same time period.
There was a 1.1% increase in female farmers aged between 35 and 44, while the number of male farmers in this age category fell by 26.3% in the same time period.
In the 10 years, both genders saw drops in the numbers farming between the ages of 45 to 54 and 55 to 64. Unsurprisingly, there was an increase in both genders aged over 65, with 868 more female farmers over this age compared with 10 years ago and 6,628 more male farmers over this age.
Cork has the highest number of female farmers at 1,927, followed by Mayo with 1,902, Galway with 1,755 and Donegal with 1,254.
In Mayo, female farmers make up 16% of the population and 10.4% in Monaghan.
A total of 543 (9.2%) female farmers were farming farms in excess of 100ha last year. Almost 10% (1,774) were farming between 50ha and 100ha and 10.7% (2,931) were farming between 30ha and 50ha.
Almost 20% of female farmers in Ireland (5,320) were farming less than 10ha in 2020.
The highest proportion of female farmers in 2020 were farming mixed field crops, with 23.7% or 2,725 farmers carrying out this type of farming.
The CSO defines mixed field crops as “farms growing various crops, including silage, hay, pasture or rough grazing, but with no dominant crop type”.
Women accounted for 7.8% of dairy farmers, 12.5% of beef farmers, 11.9% of tillage farmers, 10% of mixed grazing livestock farmers and 9.9% of mixed crop and livestock farmers last year.