The next generation is becoming increasingly unlikely to take on their parents’ farms, a well-known agricultural solicitor has said.

Co-hosting a webinar on topical issues for farmers and landowners, Aisling Meehan said she has seen a rise in cases where there is no successor identified for a farm.

“I’m coming across more and more situations where there is no successor and then parents are wondering, what are we going to do?” she said.

Meehan added that parents then have to decide the best way to divide up the farm between their children when none of them want to farm it.

“How are we going to divide it up? Do we divide it between all the kids or give it to one child?

“I go through different options with them. I go through the tax aspects of it and the different reliefs, [and so on].

“Some give it to all the kids as co-owners, some divide up the farm into different pieces and others will give it to one, that they might make a cash [financial] contribution towards the other family members,” she said.

On the long-term leasing of farms, the solicitor said: “it’s really, really popular”.

Meehan said typically, those operating labour-intensive farming enterprises do not want to carry it on into their senior years, once their children are financially independent. Often then, long-term leasing comes into the equation.

“Once kids are done, cared for and gone through education, the pressure is taken off a bit in terms of having to fund them.

“You’re not under as much pressure to generate that kind of an income,” she said.