Farm Succession: Son or Daughter?

I’ve been meaning to blog about the topic of succession for a while, particularly since we discussed it in an #agchatirl topic a couple of weeks ago. If you remember, I was at a Teagasc conference a few months and one researcher mentioned how she had been speaking to a female farmer aged 19, who was working on the home farm and relief milking for other farmers, yet she knew she hadn’t a hope of inheriting the farm – even though her brothers weren’t particularly interested in farming. I’ve heard of farmers in their 60s and 70s being resistant to leaving farms to daughters but her parents are probably not much older than Brian and I.

There’s so many issues surrounding succession – there’s delayed succession which means that sons (and daughters) could be in their 40s or 50s when they inherit which means they are perhaps too old to take risks, the bank may not be forthcoming in giving them 20 year loans and perhaps their enthusiasm for farming has waned too. Another is the reluctance to let daughters inherit. An important issue is the need for the farm to either support two families or to ensure that the parents have enough to live on between old age and personal pensions.

Farm Succession - son or daughter?

Sian Bushell, a succession expert who has visited Ireland on occasion to speak on the subject, was our guest expert for the #agchatirl topic. As she said, it’s not only older farmers that are against female farmers but she also made the point that the child most suited to farming is probably the best successor. not necessarily the male. We discussed reasons for sons being chosen and yes, some of it is undoubtedly down to tradition, the way it has always been done and some of it may be due to the continuation of the surname being attached to that land for more generations.



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