Dáil Éireann - Volume 576 - 03 December, 2003
Written Answers. - Farm Families.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
98. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the extent to which the number of farm families totally dependent on agriculture has increased or decreased in the past five years; the sectors which have shown the greatest change; his plans for the future to address issues arising; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29302/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh):Based on the most recent figures available, the number of farmers who have stated that farming is their sole occupation has fallen from 98,000 in 1997 to 79,000 in 2000. The main reduction has been in the specialist dairying area.
This decrease was signalled in some detail in the Agri-Food 2010 report, which I commissioned in 1999. The movement from sole occupation farming to part-time farming or indeed other occupations reflects the changing face of farming and the opportunities that have presented themselves throughout the economy. This is manifest in the number of farmers who currently combine farming with an off-farm job, a trend that is in line with developments in other countries.
Farming is a challenging sector and will remain so in the future. My aim, especially in opting for full decoupling, is to allow farmers the greatest possible freedom of choice in the options available to them.
Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 92.
Dáil Éireann 576 Written Answers. Farm Families.