Land deals on around 12,000ac were signed up through the Macra na Feirme Land Mobility Service last year.
It facilitated 140 new arrangements between landowners and people who want to farm land, one of the highest years since the service began in 2015.
Of the new arrangements made last year, 63 were long lease agreements, 30 share farming, 25 farm to farm and 22 partnerships. The average arrangement consisted of 85ac to 90ac.
“The service has been growing year on year and we now have three facilitators in place offering independent support to farmers across the country,” programme manager Austin Finn told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“Some of the arrangements that we got across the line in 2020 were in the making for the past two years. The new CAP and REPS are causing a lot of uncertainty among farmers and, ultimately, delaying some arrangements.”
The service received 750 enquiries last year; of which 39% were new entrants, 33% were landowners looking to step back and 28% were farmers looking to expand.
Finn continued: “There’s just so much we don’t know at the minute and farmers are unsure what the next CAP will bring. Landowners are sitting on the fence, afraid to lose their entitlements if they enter an arrangement.
“There needs to be more done to entice older farmers to transfer land. A retirement scheme to replace the dependency on entitlements could be a good starting place because this uncertainty slows our work down.”
Of those who are already in Land Mobility Service arrangements, 45% are farmers of retirement age, 30% are expanding farmers and 25% are new entrants.
In all, some 700 deals covering 55,000ac have been put in place through the service since 2015.