One in three farmers whose farm returned less than €8,000/year, reported that farming was their sole occupation in 2020, according to a Teagasc study completed on Census of Agriculture data.

Just under half of small farmers described their farming activities to be a subsidiary occupation and a further 18% reported that it was a “major occupation” for them.

However, 83% of small farm households have an off-farm source of income through employment or pension.

Teagasc’s study found that just one-third of the 48,000 small farms in country supported a full-time working unit, while 40% supported between 0.5-1 working units.

The work completed by Teagasc also shows that the age profile of smaller farmers is older than the general farming population. Over 40% of small farmers surveyed were aged above 65, in comparison to only 28% of farmers for the general farming population.