There were almost 8,000 fewer farmers in Ireland in 2022 compared with 2016, results from the 2022 Census show.

This is an 11% decrease in farmer numbers, with 61,473 people declaring themselves as farmers last year.

The number appears low compared with the number of farmers who applied for the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) payment this year, with around 123,000 farmers applying.

This is likely due to the part-time nature of some farms, with farmers declaring their off-farm job as their occupation.

In the 2011 Census there were 73,146 farmers in Ireland and this fell to 69,375 in 2016.

The lowest unemployment rates were among farmers and higher professionals in 2022, with unemployment standing at 2%.

In terms of working hours, farmers were in the top 10 occupations with the longest working day in 2022 at 10.04 hours per day. The average length of a working day in 2022 was estimated at 8.5 hours.

Census of agriculture

The census of agriculture carried out in 2020 found that over 278,600 people contributed to farm work in 2020, on 130,200 farms across the country.

Of this figure, 130,220 were the farm owners, 114,300 were family members and the remaining 34,100 were non-family workers.