Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Factors influencing Irish farmers’ afforestation intentions
    The natural conditions in Ireland have a positive influence on tree growth as the mean annual increment is twice as high as that in mainland Europe. However, due to centuries of resource exploitation and the expansion of agricultural land the isl¬¬and’s has the second lowest forest cover in the EU. An increased forest cover would encourage the establishment of a range of processing industries and thus support necessary economic development in rural areas. Furthermore through farm afforestation farmers are given the opportunity to diversify their businesses, as market output of the majority of cattle and sheep farms in Ireland often does not cover the production cost. To increase the forest cover, the government in the 1990s introduced a scheme supporting farm afforestation, which is encouraged through premium payments that are high enough to make forestry more profitable than the majority of drystock farming. Afforestation targets, however, have not been met and previous studies have failed to offer a consistent explanation for the shortfall in planting rates. Thus, the objective of this work was to identify the factors influencing farmers’ afforestation decision. More specifically the study aimed at identifying the combined effect of structural, socio-demographic and attitudinal factors on the probability to plant. Based on previous findings from in-depth interviews with Irish farmers’ about their goals and values regarding farming and afforestation, a postal survey was conducted in Spring 2012 including question on farm structure and socio-demographic variables as well as questions on reasons for planting/not planting. The data was analysed using logistic regression. The developed logit model showed that while profit goals did not significantly influence the decision-making with regard to farm afforestation, structural as well as attitudinal factors played a vital role in this process. This was identified as one reason as to why the current incentive scheme failed to deliver the outlined afforestation targets. Other policy tools are needed in addition to the incentives to further encourage afforestation.
      505Scopus© Citations 27
  • Publication
    Retirement farming or sustainable growth – land transfer choices for farmers without a successor
    Ireland’s agriculture is characterised by an ageing farmer population and small average farm sizes. These structural issues are shared by a number of European countries and have been identified as barriers to sustainable growth in the sector. While farms with an identified successor usually enter a path of expansion and growth, farms without a successor at some point follow a route of winding down and extensification. Such retirement farming could potentially become an issue for food security and sustainable land use. Understanding the retirement decisions of farmers without a successor is key to address this issue. To this end a survey was conducted with Irish farmers including questions surrounding succession and retirement. About half of the surveyed farmers did not have a successor and two thirds of those did not intend to fully retire from active farming in the future. A logistic regression analysis of the collected data showed that placing a high value on family tradition in farming and only receiving a state pension had a negative effect on the intention to retire, while being aware of changing pension ages had a positive effect. A follow up qualitative study explored the perceptions of farmers without a successor regarding various land transfer options. The participants mainly anticipated negative consequences arising from selling the farm and full retirement such as the loss of land and the end of the farming activity. Other options such as the long-term leasing of part of the land or entering into a partnership with a younger farmer were regarded as having more positive consequences. These included a lowering of the workload, allowing a continuing involvement in farm work, and the ability to be able to stay on the farm.
      561Scopus© Citations 41