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Farm incomes increase by 27 per cent despite economic woes

The average farm’s earnings rose dramatically to €21,500 last year, according to the IFA.

Image: Michaela_Rose_ via Flickr

THE INCOME OF the average farm has risen by 27 per cent despite Ireland’s ongoing economic woes, according to new figures.

The Irish Farmers’ Association said increases in food prices had led to a sharp rise in incomes, to an average of €21,500 annually.

IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer said it was hoped this trend would continue in 2012. Saying the outlook for the year was “fairly positive”, she added: “Indications for international commodity prices suggest a slight easing back from the peaks of 2011, but this should be moderate.”

However, she said that this could not be relied upon as “turmoil” on world markets was making food prices unstable.

“In addition, the lower revised growth forecast for the UK market in late 2011 is a cause for concern as over 40 per cent of agri-food exports go there,” Dwyer added.

The rise in average incomes came despite a parallel increase in the number of farmers taking part in the Farm Assist income support scheme. The number now stands at 11,300, up by 46 per cent since 2008.

Launching the IFA Farm Income Review 2011, Dwyer said the EU’s Single Farm Payment accounts for more than 70 per cent of national farm incomes.

Yesterday, employers’ group Ibec warned that most incomes would be frozen or reduced this year. It said around a quarter of companies planned to increase staff wages by an average of two per cent.

More: Pay rise expectations for 2012 are unrealistic, says Ibec>

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Michael Freeman

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