Women working on farms are being forced to jump through hoops in relation to the age limit and agricultural qualification which will be necessary in order to access the 60% TAMS grant in the next CAP, the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group (WASG) has said.

It’s been proposed by the Department that women between 40 and 55 years of age who hold an agricultural qualification can access a 60% TAMS in the next CAP, WASG has said.

"Analysis of the most recent figures from the Department show that just over 5,000 women officially farming fit into this age category, but it is not known how many of these women have an agricultural qualification and there are an additional 70,000 women working on farms in an unrecognised capacity," the group said.

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) representative on the group Vanessa Kiely O’Connor said that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has missed the point on tackling inclusivity on farms.

Over the age limit

"There are women over the proposed age limit that are working on their family farms and not getting official recognition for their work.

“The purpose of our CAP submission is that every woman working on their home farm deserves the right to be recognised,” she said.

Kiely O’Connor has said that she has received numerous calls from women over the age of 55 questioning if they will ever get their due recognition and whether the Minister and the Department are truly committed to inclusivity at all.

WASG recommendations

  • Women with at least a Level 6 in agriculture or who have been head of a farm holding for at least three years qualify for the 60% TAMS grant. This marks the experience that the women have gained in running their own farm holding and eliminates the possibility that women could be added as tokens in the time for the grant to take effect in 2023.
  • While the WASG respects the need for generational renewal, the age limit for the 60% TAMS must be raised to the incoming pension age of 67 - this is vital in the context of ensuring that older women who are active on family farms are given the support to become equal partners before reaching pension age and avoid repeating mistakes of the past.
  • Those women joining a formal farm partnership with a minimum Level 6 qualification in agriculture who meet the eligible age criteria can obtain a 60% TAMS grant within the partnership - similar to the current partnership model where a young trained farmer joins.
  • Commitment to gender balance within Irish agriculture

    “WASG are trying to assist the Government to achieve our national and European commitment to gender balance within Irish agriculture to get from just 12% women farming to over 25% by the end of the next CAP.

    "We will not be able to achieve this by barriers such as age being put forward by the Department,” Kiely O’Connor added.

    WASG chair Hannah Quinn-Mulligan said: "The Minister still has a chance to prove that this is not the case.

    “For many women this could be their only chance of ensuring they become equal partners on the farms they’ve spent the best part of their lives working on. Hopefully, the Minister recognises the weight of his responsibility and does not let them down.”