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Young farmers add their support for gay marriage ahead of referendum

If you’re surprised by that, there are a few other things you should know…

File photo of young Irish farmers and Macra na Feirme members
File photo of young Irish farmers and Macra na Feirme members
Image: Macra na Feirme

MOST IRISH FARMERS between the ages of 17 and 35 are in favour of the introduction of same-sex marriage, a new poll has revealed.

A survey conducted by Macra na Feirme, the national organisation of young farmers, found that 52% of those polled support same-sex marriage.

Some 23.1% are against it, and 24.9% are undecided on the question, which will be decided in a referendum next Spring.

macranafeirme

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Macra President Kieran O’Dowd said he wasn’t “particularly surprised” by the findings of the survey.

I’m more heartened to see young farmers following the same trends as Irish society in general.
Part of the explanation for this is that, where older farmers traditionally didn’t often have the opportunity to move away from home, or go to college and meet people from many different backgrounds, young farmers are doing that.
Another major factor is the influence of pop culture. That permeates all levels of Irish society, and young farmers are no exception.

Macra teamed up last year with GLEN - the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network – to promote mental health among rural youth, in particular LGBT people.

This survey marks the first time the organisation has asked its members this question, and will no doubt go some way toward smashing the stereotype of conservative and insular farmers.

But there are others, O’Dowd explains. The most prevalent, is that young farmers become young farmers by doing nothing.

There is this idea that they “fall into” farming. That young farmers inherit the farm, or they’re left to take it over because they don’t go away to college.
That’s not true. People are consciously choosing farming as a career, and young farmers are driving innovation and adaptation, and will be crucial to the future of agriculture in Ireland.

sob Irish international rugby player and farmer Seán O'Brien chats with Macra na Feirme members Source: Macra na Feirme

O’Dowd is also keen to break another stereotype:

Farmers, traditionally, are not regarded as particularly environmentally conscious. That’s something that this generation is changing.
What people don’t understand is that it’s actually in farmers’ best interest to make sure land and habitats are managed in a sustainable way, and it’s actually farmers who are best placed to do that.

Read: ‘There’s much more to Macra than farming’>

Thousands expected to turn out for same-sex marriage rally in Dublin>

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Dan MacGuill

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