Some 68% of the 1,982 farmers surveyed by the Irish Farmers Journal said they would be open to joining a farm retirement scheme.

Thirty four per cent of farmers said they would definitely apply if such a scheme was available and a further 34% said they would ‘maybe’ consider applying. The final 32% of the farmers surveyed gave a hard ‘no’ to partaking in such a scheme.

Interest in a farm retirement scheme was highest amongst sheep and tillage farmers, with 43% of the farmers surveyed from both sectors saying they would apply.

Dairy farmers had the least interest in a scheme aimed at generational renewal for the farm sector with 30% saying they would apply, while 33% and 34% of suckler farmers and cattle finishers said they would, respectively.

Older farmers

As expected, interest in a farm retirement scheme was greatest amongst older farmers with 63% of those who said they would apply being over 55 years of age.

The older sheep and tillage farmers surveyed were more likely to want to avail of the scheme, with 60% and 65% of those over 65 years of age saying they would apply, respectively. Some 41% of dairy farmers over 65 said they would apply and 44% of the same age beef finishers indicated they would join such a scheme.

However, of all the farmers surveyed who said they would apply for a retirement scheme, 19% were below the age of 45.

In July, Macra proposed a farm succession scheme to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue that would see farmers paid €484/ week to retire.

Based on a 40-hour working week, if added to a State pension, the payment would see a retired farmer earn in excess of €700/ week or €36,000/year.