Retirement farming or sustainable growth – land transfer choices for farmers without a successor

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Title: Retirement farming or sustainable growth – land transfer choices for farmers without a successor
Authors: Duesberg, Stefanie
Bogue, Pat
Renwick, Alan
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Date: Feb-2017
Abstract: 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.
Funding Details: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Land Use Policy
Volume: 61
Start page: 526
End page: 535
Copyright (published version): 2016 Elsevier
Keywords: LandownerDecision-makingMulti-methodLogistic regressionFocus groupReasoned action approachPartnerships
DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.12.007
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Agriculture and Food Science Research Collection

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