Incentivising farmers to to consider female successors was one of a number of recommendations outlined in the report of the National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture which was published this week.

In order to tackle issues women face around leadership and visibility, the report also recommended imposing penalties on representative organisations and bodies for not having sufficient gender balance.

A range of education, financial and legal recommendations were also outlined for consideration in a bid to inform national strategy and support greater gender equality.

A recommendation was made for an examination of the tax system in order to identify and remove unintended tax barriers to female farm ownership.

The current tax reliefs associated with joint farm ownership need to be reviewed and amended, the report recommended.

Both the Capital Gains Tax Retirement relief and Capital Acquisitions Tax relief currently favour sole farmer land ownership and in effect, penalise joint farm ownership.

Costs and hassle

This, according to the report, leads to the exclusion of women as farm co-owners as a result of the additional costs and hassle involved with transferring land to a spouse.

Meanwhile, in terms of education and awareness, the report outlined that significant investment is required to promote a career in farming for females.

It called for more to be done to promote the visibility of female role models, putting forward good news stories so women can see themselves as having and being able to have an integral role in agriculture.

Action Plan

Along with the launch of the report, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon launched the National Women in Agriculture action plan on Thursday 31 January.

The action plan was also devised from the National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture.

A working group has consolidated the various recommendations into the 12-point action plan below:

1. Host a series of demand driven webinars/local events (considering local needs) to encourage and promote increased female interaction, leadership, and participation in the sector.

2. Increase promotion of agriculture as a viable career for women and young girls in primary and post-primary schools, to be progressed through with Agri Aware and the Department of Education.

3. Liaise with Teagasc and third level education providers to ensure that there are options to ensure the highest possible female participation (e.g. for those who have caring responsibilities).

4. Implement the use of more inclusive language and imagery in communications to farmers and about farming.

Female succession

5. Promote and normalise female succession, including the consideration of any changes required to policy, taxation, legislation and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) schemes.

6. Liaise with Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners on any barriers for women farmers within the taxation system, and to ensure greater inclusivity and fairness.

7. DAFM to consider sponsoring a "Women in Agriculture Innovation and Excellence Award" within an existing award programme(s)to acknowledge and recognise those who are leading the way in the agri-food sector.

8. Establish a working group to review internal DAFM scheme eligibility and educational requirements to ensure maximum opportunities available to women farmers and to establish a process for the consideration of the issue in the design and implementation of all schemes, including improved recording and reporting of gender data.

9. Review procedures and processes in place for the inclusion of women on herd numbers and Herd-Keeper across the DVO network and external agri-agencies.

10. Create a dedicated space on the DAFM website, which would become a hub for all things related to women in agriculture.

11. Undertake research on women in agriculture.

12. Promote the role of women in improved sustainability for the sector, social, environmental, and economic.


The Women in Agriculture working group will continue to meet to monitor the progress of implementation.

Minister McConalogue said on Thursday: "The report of the Dialogue provides insight into the challenges and experiences of the women in attendance, while the Action Plan provides focus for future work on this important issue.

"The Working Group will now explore the practicalities of delivering the necessary changes and initiatives to improve the daily lives of women throughout the agri-food sector and I look forward to seeing those changes take effect.”

Minister Hackett added that as one of the thousands of women who work in farming across Ireland, she is acutely aware of the need for their voices to be heard and our interests to be promoted.

"I am proud that we now have a 12-point Government-backed action plan which supports us.

"On many farms across Ireland, it is women who are thinking outside the box and we need to support that innovation as much as we can," she said.

Minister Heydon said: “The launch of this Action Plan is a practical next step in ensuring the agriculture sector is a leader when it comes to promoting gender equality. We all have a responsibility to continue to promote and improve gender balance at all levels and in all areas of society. It addresses a number of important areas such as succession, education, and recognition and I am particularly looking forward to supporting greater research into this area to ensure we have solid foundations for any future policies.”