There is currently a succession problem in Irish farming, particularly among younger farmers who may question the security of the profession, President Michael D Higgins has said.
Speaking to media at the National Ploughing Championships on Tuesday, President Higgins said: “When you look at who is actually farming at the present time, there is a succession problem.
“Security [in farming] as a way of life is not just about working on the farm, it’s about having access in local towns and villages to services."
While President Higgins said that it is time to wake up to those actually farming and those who own the land, he said that farming for these farmers is their culture and a way of life.
“There is a big distinction between farming and who own the land and it’s time we woke up to that too. If you are going to provide a secure future for farming as a way of life, it is not only a zone of production, but it also has a very strong culture associated with it,” he said.
Issues such as sustainability, he said, are well understood in rural Ireland and water quality, he said, is something that we are all in together.
“We cannot go on poisoning our rivers and we cannot see fish kills. It is very wrong to think that only people in cities are concerned about this,” he said.
He said that all the young people he speaks to, they too are interested in water quality.