• Agriculture, Rural Development and Potential for a ‘Middle Agriculture’ in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010-03)
      This paper gives a brief overview of current farm viability in Ireland and summarises some of the main ‘barriers’ to farm families’ engagement in contemporary rural development programmes. Against this backdrop, the paper discusses the potential of a middle agriculture model for rural development. The capacity of such a model to address some of the economic, social and cultural predicaments of Irish family farms is outlined. The potential of the model is also discussed in terms of how it may respond to contemporary EC rural development policy priority objectives.
    • Barriers to Change: a Sociological study of Rural Development in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, 2009-06-01)
      Teagasc’s Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) and Rural Development Advisory Unit initiated a research project in 2006 to investigate the ‘Barriers to Change’ experienced by farmers and fishers in adapting to challenges arising from a changed rural development mandate. Economic models developed by the organisation predicted farmers’ exodus over time from nonviable farming enterprises and in response to shifts towards postproductivist policies. A significant proportion of farmers, however, are continuing with what are officially categorised as nonviable farms and are slow to become involved in economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda. In this light, the ‘Barriers to Change’ project was designed to explore the sociocultural inhibitors to farmers’ engagement. The project also incorporated a casestudy analysis of a fishing community whose members are experiencing similar ‘barriers’.
    • Gender, Power and Property: “In my own right”

      Byrne, Anne; Duvvury, Nata; Macken-Walsh, Aine; Watson, Tanya (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013-11)
      Women on farms in Ireland are a subject of feminist analysis for five decades. Salient themes are the constraints of patriarchal agriculture (O'Hara 1997; Shortall, 2004), the invisibility of women's farm work (Viney 1968; O’Hara 1998), gender inequalities in ownership of farm assets (Watson et al. 2009) and increasing professionalisation of farmwomen outside of agriculture (Kelly and Shortall 2002; Hanrahan 2007). Most women enter farming through marriage and family ties. Land ownership is identified by Shortall (2004) as the critical factor underpinning male domination of the occupational category ‘farmer’ and considerable power differentials between men and women in family farming. This is an area that requires further investigation. Our analysis, framed by theoretical models of feminisation and empowerment, explores cases where male farm property ownership in Ireland is disrupted in conventional and non-conventional agricultural settings. Do these cases provide evidence of new opportunities for women to become farm property owners, and in what contexts? What consequences do these opportunities have for farmwomen’s empowerment and agency? How does women’s farm property ownership disturb rural gender relations in the context of the family farm?
    • The Potential for Joint Farming Ventures in Irish Agriculture: A Sociological Review

      Cush, Peter; Macken-Walsh, Aine (De Gruyter, 2016-04-09)
      Joint farming ventures (JFVs) are promoted within Irish and EU policy discourses as strategies that can enhance the economic and social sustainability of family farming. Research has shown that JFVs, including arrangements such as farm partnerships, contract rearing and share farming, can potentially enable farmers to work cooperatively to improve farm productivity, reduce working hours, facilitate succession, develop skills and improve relationships within the farm household. In the context of increasing policy promotion of JFVs, there is a need to make some attempt at understanding the macro socio-cultural disposition of family farming to cooperation. Reviewing sociological studies of agricultural cooperation and taking a specific focus on the Irish contextual backdrop, this paper draws the reader’s attention to the importance of historical legacy, pragmatic economic and social concerns, communicative norms, inter-personal relationships, individualism and, policy and extension stimuli, all of which shape farmers’ dispositions to cooperation and to JFVs specifically.
    • The Potential of an Enhanced Cooperation Measure in the EAFRD (2014-2020): the case of Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine; Brosnan, Karen (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012-05)
      The current Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for Rural Development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) includes Article (36) Cooperation that is potentially instrumental for realising the objectives of FOOD HARVEST 20204. The purpose of this report is to assess the scope and potential of Article 36 in the context of Irish agriculture and its findings have four key aspects. First, the main areas of confluence between Article 36 and primary policy objectives as set out in Food Harvest 2020 are identified. Second, a range of cooperation categories and types relevant to Article 36, many of which are operational in Ireland, are profiled. Third, drawing from case-studies of these co-operation types5, the operational characteristics of each type are presented, focusing on compatibility with Article 36. Possible supports that would encourage and assist the formation and operation of the cooperation types on a broad scale into the future, and also any possible constraints that would prevent success, are indicated. Fourth, a brief discussion of some key implementation considerations arising from the analysis overall is presented.
    • A Review of the Social Benefits of Joint Farming Ventures

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      This paper will review some of the main benefits arising from farmers’ working together, whether through Farm Partnerships or Share Farming arrangements. First, some of the general social benefits are overviewed, and then brief case-studies are presented of the specific benefits that have been experienced by farmers working together in the UK and Norway.
    • The Rural Development Programme (2007-2013) and Farmer Innovation: A Review to Date and Look to the Future

      Heanue, Kevin; Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      This paper seeks to comment on farmer innovation in relation to the measures within the Rural Development Programme (2007-2013). Evidence is presented on the general extent of innovation among farmers and the specific uptake of measures within Axes 1, 2 and 3 of the RDP. Changes to, and curtailment of, measures within the various Axes since the inception of the RDP until April 2010 are identified. Following a discussion of some of the internal and external factors that promote or hinder farmer innovation and participation with the Axes, suggestions are made about how to increase farmer engagement with the RDP. It is concluded that for the remainder of the RDP, certain bureaucratic barriers, governance issues, resource issues, training needs, and research gaps must be addressed if farm households are to innovate to the extent that they are expected to as a result of the RDP