We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Views sought for dialogue on women in agriculture

13 Jan 2023 / ireland Print

Views sought for dialogue on women in agriculture

Registration for the National Dialogue on Women in Agriculture on 1 February is now open.

Charlie McConalogue (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine) said: "This will be an important opportunity for the sector to engage on gender equality issues in agri-food, with particular attention on farming."

The dialogue will be led by former Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan, and will feature panel discussions and workshops, with a view to gathering views on issues such as:

  • Leadership and visibility,
  • Education and awareness,
  • Sustainability, and
  • Financial and legal matters.

National policy

The outcome of the dialogue will feed into future agricultural national policy.

The free-to-attend event will feature speakers, including former German Minister for Ariculture Julia Klöckner, Glanbia Chief Executive Siobhán Talbot, as well as Minister McConalogue, and Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon.

Minister of State Hackett said: "As a female farmer myself, I am acutely aware of the need for our voices to be amplified in a sector that is largely dominated by men.

"This national dialogue provides an opportunity for women involved in any farm enterprise across the country to highlight how we can continue to contribute to the future of farming, and I encourage all women involved in farming to register and attend."

Women central to farms

Minister of State Heydon commented: "Women have always been central to farm enterprises across the generations, but often in roles that are not visible or sufficiently recognised.

"This dialogue, in addition to the specific measures we have introduced in the new CAP, is part of efforts to correct that imbalance and ensure greater representation by women as farm holders and in decision-making on farms."

Solicitor Aisling Meehan will act as rapporteur for the financial and legal workshop and will be reporting back to the Department of Agriculture on the legal and financial issues to be addressed to ensure that women are better represented on farm matters.

Meehan also made submissions as part of the agri-taxation review.

An agri-taxation report, published in October 2014, highlighted the following:

“Almost 88% of family farm holders were male. The number of family farms owned by females in 2010 remained relatively low at 12.4%.


Joint ownership

An agri-taxation report, published in October 2014, highlighted the following:

" Almost 88% of family farm holders were male. The number of family farms owned by females in 2010 remained relatively low at 12.4%.

"In Ireland, joint ownership of farms between spouses is uncommon and women generally only inherit farms upon the death of their spouse. Women tend to inherit smaller, less productive farms as evidenced by the fact that in 2012 women received less than 8% SPS payments .”

Meehan pointed out in her submission that recommendation 24 of the Agri Taxation Review Report states:

"The Agri-taxation Working Group should remain in place to monitor the agri-taxation measures and examine other issues arising; and specifically, to: 

  • Examine the feasibility of introducing a risk deposit scheme, there is a risk deposit scheme currently operating in France and this will be examined further,
  • Examine the feasibility of introducing a 'Phased Transfer Partnership',
  • Examine the tax system to determine unintended barriers to female participation,
  • Examine other issues as necessary.”

Recommendation 21 also urges removal of any unintended technical tax barrier to female participation in agriculture.

The Agri Taxation Review Report acknowledges very low levels of female participation in the ownership of farms here compared to other countries and that this is not consistent with realizing the potential of the sector, Meehan points out.

Removal of any unintended technical tax barriers to female participation will contribute to on-farm diversification, as with other sectors.

Succession planning 

Current rules for claiming CGT retirement relief and CAT agricultural relief, favor land being in the sole name of the farmer and in effect penalize farmers who put land into joint names with their spouses. 

Many farming couples who put land into joint names could cause unintended CGT tax implications when transferring the land to the next generation, Meehan adds.

No CGT arises for property transferred under a will rather than transferring the land during the parent's lifetime.   

Putting the land into joint names will almost always create a CAT liability whereas if it is transferred to the child alone there will be no liability.


Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland