Now showing items 1-20 of 217

    • A time of transition: changes in Irish food behaviour and potential implications due to the COVID-19 pandemic

      Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, Sinead N; McCarthy, M.; Corona Cooking Study Group (Teagasc, 2021-05-13)
      Consumers’ food choice decisions are generally relatively stable over time; consumers engage in habitual decision-making due to the high frequency of such decisions for efficiency reasons. As a result, habits are strong predictors of eating behaviour. However, changes in the life of the individual or the external environment can result in more conscious consideration of food choice motives and a transition to new patterns of behaviour to fit the new context. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is examined in this paper as a particularly useful case of how a change in context affects food choice trajectories. Drawing on results from an online survey of 651 food consumers in Ireland, it examines food planning, shopping, preparation and eating behaviour, including stockpiling and influences on decision-making. Overall, it finds significant evidence of a transition towards new patterns of behaviours, with two distinct clusters identified – the “Covid copers” and the “restless restrictors”. For both groups, the shopping experience has become stressful resulting in reduced frequency of shopping and higher levels of planning. Conversely, time pressures related to cooking have reduced, with enjoyment associated with such activities. This is also reflected in stockpiling behaviour; the top three foods most likely to have been stockpiled in Ireland were pasta/rice, eggs and flour, reflecting the nation’s desire to bake and cook during the pandemic. These behaviours are discussed in the context of emerging supply chain actor responses, with considerations for future strategic decisions identified, along with some opportunities for public health nutrition interventions.
    • Embedding animal welfare in sustainability assessment: an indicator approach

      Brennan, M.; Hennessy, Thia; Dillon, Emma Jane (Teagasc, 2021-11-17)
      In line with growing consumer interest in sustainable food production, a number of farm-level sustainability indicator studies have been published in recent years. Despite the importance of animal welfare, many such frameworks fail to adequately take account of it, mostly due to difficulties in accessing suitable data. This paper demonstrates that it is possible to develop indicators of animal welfare that can be embedded within a wider sustainability framework using a representative farm-level dataset such as the European Union (EU) Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) for Ireland, the Teagasc National Farm Survey. The paper presents a set of sustainability indicators for dairy farms in Ireland for the 2014–2017 period and examines the impact of policy reform on sustainability performance. Headline results show that welfare standards on dairy farms in Ireland have remained stable over the period despite the considerable intensification of the dairy sector following EU milk quota removal. Furthermore, dairy farms that have expanded herd size significantly have improved welfare standards more than farms that have not increased production. An analysis of synergies and trade-offs between the various aspects of sustainability reveals that positive correlations exist between welfare standards and economic and environmental performance. The analysis facilitates the identification of win-win farm-level strategies that can be adopted to improve economic, environmental and animal welfare outcomes. The framework developed here presents opportunities for evaluating policy impacts at the farm level on various aspects of sustainability. The use of the FADN demonstrates the capacity to extend such an approach across the EU.
    • Using a Technology Acceptance Model to investigate what factors influence farmer adoption of a nutrient management plan

      McCormack, Michele; Buckley, Cathal; Kelly, E. (Teagasc, 2021-11-17)
      The agricultural sector will play a key role in reaching the goals set out in the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, and so understanding farmer behaviour in relation to farm management best practice is important. In this paper, we investigate if the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) can predict farmer adoption of an online nutrient management plan (NMP). A NMP has the potential to reduce the risk of nutrient transfer from agricultural land, without negatively affecting farm-level profitability. The TAM identifies two psychological constructs, perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEOU), which are believed to be key factors in technology adoption. The data were collected through a survey from 358 farms by a team of professional data recorders in 2015. Results indicate that PU and PEOU of a NMP are positively and significantly related to a farmer’s intention to adopt and use the technology in the future. However, PU, which captures the perceived benefits in terms of usefulness, is the main driver of technology adoption. Results show that those farmers who adopt and use the technology are more likely to have larger farms and are full-time farmers. They use agricultural extension services and the farm is also more likely to be the main contributor to overall household income. The research recommends that the usefulness of a NMP, in terms of increased profitability, improving nutrient management practices, labour and time-saving advantages, should be highlighted and clearly communicated to farmers.
    • Policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Kinsella, Anne; O’Donoghue, Cathal; Farrell, Maura; Mahon, Marie (Elsevier BV, 2017-02)
      Farm succession and inheritance is increasingly considered a complex phenomenon which not only affects core dimensions of farm family life but also the agricultural sector more widely. Intergenerational farm transfer in particular is increasingly viewed as fundamental to the sustainability and development of global agriculture. In the majority of EU countries, the average age of farmers is increasing, while the number of farmers under 40 years of age is decreasing. There is growing concern that this demographic trend may have negative impacts on the agricultural industry because it is younger and not older farmers who are associated with more efficient and effective production practices. The question of what motivates decisions to transfer farms is a complex one, and research to date has not apparently enlightened agricultural policy to the extent that current trends towards an ageing farm population are being managed. This research aims to investigate economic and financial aspects of the policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance in Ireland to understand what it is about the policy environment that is failing to stimulate higher levels of farm transfer. It draws on the Teagasc National Farm Survey data which provides Irish data to the Farm Accountancy Data Network in the European Commission. A hypothetical microsimulation model is used to investigate economic factors of farm transfers, with scenarios created to test these factors and their impacts on the transfer process. The Net Present Value (NPV) of income streams for farmers and their successors are calculated to assess which scenarios have the highest/lowest financial effects. The findings illustrate a range of possible scenarios for farm succession/inheritance, with some results indicating that under current policy retaining a farm until death may be more economically beneficial to a farmer than transferring land before death.
    • Beyond ruminants: discussing opportunities for alternative pasture uses in New Zealand

      Lucci, Gina M.; Henchion, Maeve; Lange, Lene; Ledgard, Stewart F.; Collie, Stewart R.; Cosgrove, Gerald P.; Meyer, Anne S.; Graichen, Florian H.M.; Barth, Susanne; Lenehan, James J. (New Zealand Grassland Association, 2019-10-28)
      The New Zealand government has set ambitious goals for primary sector growth and of zero net carbon emissions by 2050. This presents an opportunity and obligation to develop new ideas for grassland production systems to increase export value and generate new job opportunities, while reducing environmental impacts. The aim of this paper is to draw on recent research in Europe to investigate some of the alternative and complementary uses for pasture as a feedstock for a green biorefinery. A biorefinery is a facility, or a series of processes, that convert biomass into a spectrum of value-added products. For example, protein can be extracted mechanically from green biomass once harvested. The residual fibre fraction could be used as a low-nitrogen feed for ruminants to reduce urinary nitrogen, while the liquid protein fraction could be processed to make it suitable for mono-gastric or human consumption. Enzymes can promote protein extraction and controlled conversion of insoluble plant fibres and oligosaccharides to foster gut-health promoting prebiotic food ingredients. Anaerobic digestion of residues can then be used to create energy and soilimproving products. Research and demonstration of these approaches in practice, along with the results of feasibility studies, will be required to see which of these opportunities is a good fit for New Zealand pasture systems.
    • Investigating the Effectiveness of Representations Based on Word-Embeddings in Active Learning for Labelling Text Datasets

      Lu, Jinghui; Henchion, Maeve; Mac Namee, Brian (2021-11-23)
      Manually labelling large collections of text data is a timeconsuming and expensive task, but one that is necessary to support machine learning based on text datasets. Active learning has been shown to be an effective way to alleviate some of the effort required in utilising large collections of unlabelled data for machine learning tasks without needing to fully label them. The representation mechanism used to represent text documents when performing active learning, however, has a significant influence on how effective the process will be. While simple vector representations such as bag-of-words have been shown to be an effective way to represent documents during active learning, the emergence of representation mechanisms based on the word embeddings prevalent in neural network research (e.g. word2vec and transformer based models like BERT) offer a promising, and as yet not fully explored, alternative. This paper describes a large-scale evaluation of the effectiveness of different text representation mechanisms for active learning across 8 datasets from varied domains. This evaluation shows that using representations based on modern word embeddings, especially BERT, which have not yet been widely used in active learning, achieves a significant improvement over more commonly used vector representations like bag-of-words.
    • BRIAR: Biomass Retrieval in Ireland Using Active Remote Sensing (2014-CCRP-MS.17)

      Green, Stuart; Martin, Shafique; Gharechelou, Saeid; Cawkwell, Fiona; Black, Kevin (2021-11-23)
      Biomass Retrieval Using Active Remote Sensing Hedgerows are a very significant component of the Irish landscape. They perform multiple functions, acting as boundary markers, acting as stock-proof fencing, supporting bio-diversity and controlling run-off. They function as reservoirs of above-ground biomass and their potential as carbon sinks was explored in an earlier study which found that hedgerows potentially sequester 0.5–2.7tCO2 /ha/year. The earlier study used light detection and ranging (lidar) scanning to build 3D models of hedgerows to successfully estimate biomass, but at the time the cost–benefit of doing so was poor. However, this has since changed with the availability of free lidar sources and the reduced cost of commissioning/ acquiring lidar data. The purpose of the present study was to examine the use of another active remote sensing tool, imaging radar, to estimate biomass in hedgerows. The study area around Fermoy in County Cork was field surveyed using new drone technology to collect data on a sample of hedgerows from which estimates of biomass could be drawn. These field estimates were used with new high-resolution TerraSAR-X Staring Spotlight (TSX-SS) radar imagery to model hedgerows directly from radar backscatter. The study found that hedgerow biomass cannot be derived directly from radar backscatter. There were a number of reasons for this, such as the hedgerow biomass density, with an average of 10kg/m2 , being above the threshold of saturation for radar in the X-band frequency range. However, other radar sensors with lower frequencies, and thus higher saturation limits, do not have the spatial resolution to map hedgerows. An alternative method of investigating hedgerow structure, and thus inferring biomass, interferometry, is not successful as the level of coherence between the observations in our dataset was too low to build a 3D model (i.e. the backscatter from the hedgerow changed too much between observations). A new method that examines the cross-sectional response of the radar return across a hedgerow was shown to be successful at modelling the relationship between the width of the backscatter profile and the width of the hedgerow. However, this too was sensitive to the orientation of the hedgerow to the sensor. Therefore, this study shows that radar data does not seem to be an appropriate technology for estimating hedgerow properties in Ireland. In order to estimate the national stock of hedgerow, the new Prime2 spatial data storage model (OSI, 2014) was applied in conjunction with developed maps showing the probability of a field boundary being a stone wall or a hedgerow, to give a new national estimate for hedgerow length in Ireland of 689,000km. This estimate is double the frequently quoted figure of 300,000km because of a much wider definition of “hedgerow” used in this report. Net change in hedgerow length was examined using the aerial photographic records from 1995, 2005 and 2015, along with county-level survey records, showing that there has been a net removal of hedgerows between 1995 and 2015 of between 0.16% and 0.3% per annum, although the rate is much slower in the latter half of that period. As X-band radar seems to be inappropriate for hedgerow evaluation (especially for the obvious case of the identification of the complete removal of large hedgerows, for which it is much more expensive and time-consuming than the detection of hedgerow removal using aerial photography), the existing national lidar surveys from the Geological Survey of Ireland were examined for their appropriateness for hedgerow evaluation. A digital canopy model derived from these data successfully estimated heights (mean and maximum) in the trial test site, with an r 2 value of 0.79.
    • Trends and influential factors of high ecological status mobility in Irish Rivers

      O'Donoghue, Cathal; Meng, Yuting; Ryan, Mary; Kilgarriff, Paul; Zhang, Chaosheng; Bragina, Lyubov; Daly, Karen; Environmental Protection Agency (Elsevier BV, 2021-11-10)
      The decline in high ecological water status in rivers is a significant concern in European countries. It is thus important to investigate the factors that cause sites to lose high status in order to undertake measures to protect and restore high status water quality. Analysis of 20 years of water quality data reveals strong mobility between high status and non-high status (especially good status) rivers. Associations between this mobility and socio-economic and physical environmental variables were estimated by multinomial logistic regression at national scale and regional scale. Based on reported changes in water quality status cross across 1990, 2000 and 2010, four classes of the mobility of high status were defined in this study: those sites that maintain high status (maintain), enter high status (enter), fluctuate between high and non-high status (fluctuate) and exit from high status (exit). The national results indicate that agricultural activity as indicated by variables representing intensity of livestock farming (organic nitrogen) and tillage farming (cereal share) and elevation had significant negative impacts on high status rivers. Meanwhile, significant differences in population density and septic tank density between ‘exit’, ‘maintain’, ‘fluctuate’ and ‘enter’ classes indicate that these factors played important roles in the stability of high status rivers. The regional outcomes reveal differential significant pressures across regions. For example, rainfall and elevation had positive impacts on high status rivers in the north-west region, while organic nitrogen had a negative effect in the south-west. This paper demonstrates the challenge in achieving the Water Framework Directive goal of maintaining high status rivers, given the sensitive and highly differentiated nature of areas that have lost high status or fluctuated in and out of high status. This paper also suggests the necessity for localised policies and mitigation measures.
    • Policy Incentives and the Organic Value Chain in Ireland

      O’Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Clavin, Dan; Heery, Declan; Leavy, Elaine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON FOOD SYSTEM DYNAMICS, 2017)
      Merged administration data are utilized to study farms that have converted to organic beef production in Ireland, to draw lessons for future CAP scheme design. Results show the complex structure of organic farms with lower cattle age progression than in non-organic systems, suggesting leakage to conventional agriculture. There is also a flow of animals as they age from poorer land in the West to better Eastern areas that are more suitable for finishing, however the flow is less for organic farms. Additionally, there is less specialisation on organic farms as more animals are finished, so leakage is less than expected.
    • Hobson’s Choice: Finding the right mix of agricultural and environmental policy for Irish agriculture

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Lanigan, Gary J. (2021-11-16)
      Abstract As part of its international obligations, Ireland faces emission reduction targets with respect to greenhouse gases (GHG). These reduction targets are to be achieved both in the short term and over the coming decades. Agriculture is a substantial source (33%) of Ireland’s GHG emissions. Whereas the economic welfare of farmers has been the dominant force in shaping agriculture policy for several decades, there has been a notable increase in environmental concerns and a gradual emergence of environmental policies which are relevant to agriculture, particularly in the last 10 years. The future evolution of the agri-food sector in Ireland must therefore be seen in the context of both the economic growth objectives of national agricultural policy, as well as national environmental policy objectives arising from international obligations. In light of the recent proposals with respect to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 (EC, 2018), environmental objectives will become an increasingly important subset of the CAP objectives and the implementation of the CAP in Ireland. The EU Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) requires that Ireland reduce its non-ETS GHG emission by 20% by 2020 relative to the 2005 level. The reduction target for the non-ETS sector for 2030 is 30%, but incorporates so called flexibility mechanisms designed to make the achievement of this target less onerous. A partial equilibrium model of Irish agriculture is used to explore differing future outcomes in terms of the sector’s size and associated GHG emissions to 2030. The scenario analysis employed demonstrates the implications of different future pathways for bovine (dairy and beef) agriculture, the dominant sector in Irish agriculture and the principal source of its GHG emissions. Mitigation actions are then factored in to provide measures of future levels of emissions inclusive of this mitigation capacity. While technical mitigation actions are largely grounded in interventions that are based on science, the scenario analysis makes clear that the scale of the ultimate challenge in mitigating agricultural GHG emissions will be determined by the overall size of the agriculture sector and the intensity of production per hectare. The dairy and beef sectors in Ireland are noteworthy for their contrasting levels of profitability; dependence on support payments; and farm income. Now that the EU milk quota has been eliminated, from the perspective of economic development, an increase in the size of the dairy sector and entry into the dairy sector are desirable economic policy objectives. However, the paper demonstrates the strong contrast between dairy and beef farms, not just in terms of income but also in terms of intensity of production per hectare and the associated level of emissions produced. It follows that a transition from beef production to dairy production, while desirable from the point of view of farm income, could have adverse consequences for emissions.
    • Diverging Divergences: Examining Variants of Jensen Shannon Divergence for Corpus Comparison Tasks

      Lu, Jinghui; Henchion, Maeve; Mac Namee, Brian; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; 2016053; 12/RC/2289 P2 (2021-11-16)
      Jensen-Shannon divergence (JSD) is a distribution similarity measurement widely used in natural language processing. In corpus comparison tasks, where keywords are extracted to reveal the divergence between different corpora (for example, social media posts from proponents of different views on a political issue), two variants of JSD have emerged in the literature. One of these uses a weighting based on the relative sizes of the corpora being compared. In this paper we argue that this weighting is unnecessary and, in fact, can lead to misleading results. We recommend that this weighted version is not used. We base this recommendation on an analysis of the JSD variants and experiments showing how they impact corpus comparison results as the relative sizes of the corpora being compared change.
    • Does supplementation with leucine-enriched protein alone and in combination with fish-oil-derived n–3 PUFA affect muscle mass, strength, physical performance, and muscle protein synthesis in well-nourished older adults? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

      Murphy, Caoileann H; Flanagan, Ellen M; De Vito, Giuseppe; Susta, Davide; Mitchelson, Kathleen A J; de Marco Castro, Elena; Senden, Joan M G; Goessens, Joy P B; Mikłosz, Agnieszka; Chabowski, Adrian; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-04-19)
      Background Leucine-enriched protein (LEU-PRO) and long-chain (LC) n–3 (ω–3) PUFAs have each been proposed to improve muscle mass and function in older adults, whereas their combination may be more effective than either alone. Objective The impact of LEU-PRO supplementation alone and combined with LC n–3 PUFAs on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance and myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) was investigated in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. Methods This 24-wk, 3-arm parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 107 men and women aged ≥65 y with low muscle mass and/or strength. Twice daily, participants consumed a supplement containing either LEU-PRO (3 g leucine, 10 g protein; n = 38), LEU-PRO plus LC n–3 PUFAs (0.8 g EPA, 1.1 g DHA; LEU-PRO+n–3; n = 38), or an isoenergetic control (CON; n = 31). Appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, leg strength, physical performance, and circulating metabolic and renal function markers were measured pre-, mid-, and postintervention. Integrated rates of MyoPS were assessed in a subcohort (n = 28). Results Neither LEU-PRO nor LEU-PRO+n–3 supplementation affected appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, knee extension strength, physical performance or MyoPS. However, isometric knee flexion peak torque (treatment effect: −7.1 Nm; 95% CI: −12.5, −1.8 Nm; P < 0.01) was lower postsupplementation in LEU-PRO+n–3 compared with CON. Serum triacylglycerol and total adiponectin concentrations were lower, and HOMA-IR was higher, in LEU-PRO+n–3 compared with CON postsupplementation (all P < 0.05). Estimated glomerular filtration rate was higher and cystatin c was lower in LEU-PRO and LEU-PRO+n–3 postsupplementation compared with CON (all P < 0.05). Conclusions Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe a beneficial effect of LEU-PRO supplementation alone or combined with LC n–3 PUFA supplementation on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance or MyoPS in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03429491.
    • Policy Incentives as Behavioural Drivers of Beef Enterprises in Ireland: Where are the Kinks?

      McCormack, Michele; O' Donoghue, Cathal (2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182733, European Association of Agricultural Economists., 2014)
      The current structure of agricultural production is still influenced by historical coupled payments, even though it has been eight years since decoupled payments were introduced. Much of the expansion in the Irish cattle herd that occurred during the era of the MacSharry reforms is still visible. In this paper we consider the incentives associated with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) over time in relation to production. Our primary focus is on subsidies that were available to the beef sector, and we investigate the behavioural pressures associated with these incentives. We have developed a Hypothetical microsimulation model using a typical farm, based on plausible values taken from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) 1995. We are investigating if subsidies available to the beef sector in Ireland through the CAP since 1984 resulted in non-linearity in the Direct Payment Schedule faced by cattle farmers, and if so where were these kinks and what were the behavioural pressures associated with these incentives? Identifying non-linearity in the Direct Payment Schedule indicates where incentives occurred. Large kinks are associated with large incentives at that point. We calculated a total payment for each subsidy from 1984 to 2014, and constructed a Direct Payment Schedule that varies by stocking rate. We find that subsidies, and in particular the CAP reform payments of the MacSharry era introduced large discontinuities or kink points in the Direct Payment Schedule of beef farmers, indicating that there were large incentives for farmers to produce at or just before these points.
    • Systems Approach to the Economic Impact of Technical Performance in the Sheep Sector

      Kilcline, Kevin; O' Donoghue, Cathal; Hennessy, Thia; Hynes, Stephen (Agricultural Economics Society, 2015-04-15)
      This paper investigates the structure and characteristics of the full distribution of sheep farms achieving various levels of financial and technical performance. Analysing data from the Irish panel dataset, the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) shows Irish sheep farms exhibit relatively low level of technical performance and that on-farm technical advances have been stagnant over the past 20 years. NFS data files not previously manipulated for research purposes are used to capture monthly animal data flows for the full sample of NFS sheep farms for the 3 year period 2008 – 2010. Utilising this data we identify and analyse key flock performance indicators including reproduction, mortality rates. These “Livestock Demographic” variables are important indicators for estimating and modelling flock dynamics and production, combining two drivers of flock performance: the biological characteristics of the stock on the farm and the farmers’ flock management practices. Results indicate the potential impacts on farm output and gross margins of improved animal performance which is achievable through specific technology adoptions.
    • Comparing economic performance with greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen surplus on Irish Farms

      Lynch, John (2017-04-23)
      The need to reduce the environmental footprint of agricultural production is widely recognised. At the same time, agricultural production must be sufficient to feed the expanding human population. It has been argued that this production can be achieved through sustainable intensification, with efficient intensive farms optimal for both environmental and economic performance. This paper explores this concept by comparing farm financial performance (gross margins per hectare and family farm income per labour unit) with two key environmental metrics, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen surpluses, on Irish farms from the 2015 Teagasc National Farm Survey. Overall, farms with better economic performance tend to have lower emissions per unit agricultural output, and obtain more agricultural output per kg surplus nitrogen applied. However, the intensive production on these economically better performing farms is also associated with greater emissions and nitrogen surpluses per hectare farmed. These results are discussed in the context of current debate surrounding agricultural policy in Ireland, where ambitions to increase agricultural production will be challenged to meet environmental targets, and in relation to wider debates around the best path for sustainable agricultural production.
    • Developing a microsimulation model for farm forestry planting decisions

      Ryan, Mary; O’Donoghue, Cathal (International Microsimulation Association, 2018)
      There is increasing pressure in Europe to convert land from agriculture to forestry which would enable the sequestration of additional carbon, thereby mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas production. However, there is little or no information available on the drivers of the land use change decision from agriculture to forestry at individual farm level, which is complicated by the inter-temporal nature of the decision.This paper describes a static microsimulation approach which provides a better understanding of the life-cycle relativity of forestry and agricultural incomes, using Ireland as a casestudy. The microsimulation methodology allows for the generation of actual and counterfactual forest and agricultural income streams and for other attributes of utility such as long-term wealth and leisure, for the first time. These attributes are then modelled using purpose built forest models and farm microdata from a 30 year longitudinal dataset. The results show the importance of financial drivers but additionally show that wealth and leisure are also important factors in this inter-temporal land use change decision. By facilitating the examination of the distribution of farms across the farming population, the use of a static microsimulation approach allows us to make a considerable contribution to the literature in relation to the underlying drivers of farm afforestation behaviour. In the broader context of Climate Smart Agriculture and the Grand Challenges facing the intensification of agricultural production, these findings have implications for policies that seek to optimize natural resource use.
    • Human dynamics and the intergenerational farm transfer process in later life: A roadmap for future generational renewal in agriculture policy

      Conway, Shane Francis; McDonagh, John; Farrell, Maura; Kinsella, Anne; National University of Ireland, Galway; Geographical Society of Ireland (International Farm Management Association and Institute of Agricultural Management, 2019)
      The senior generation’s reluctance and indeed resistance to alter the status quo of the existing management and ownership structure of their family farm is undoubtedly strong within the farming community. This phenomenon has resulted in extraordinary socio-economic challenges for young people aspiring to embark on a career in farming. The reasons why older farmers fail to plan effectively and expeditiously for the future are expansive, and range from the potential loss of identity, status and power that may occur as a result of engaging in the process, to the intrinsic multi-level relationship farmers have with their farms. These so-called ‘soft issues’ i.e. the emotional and social dimensions involved, are the issues that distort and dominate the older generation’s decisions on the future trajectory of the farm. These really are the ‘hard issues’. This paper draws on three interrelated journal articles exploring the complex human dynamics influencing the decision-making processes surrounding farm succession and retirement to put forth a series of recommendations that sensitively deal with problematic issues surrounding generational renewal in agriculture, whilst also ensuring farmers’ emotional wellbeing in later life.
    • Mobilising Land Mobility in the European Union: An Under-Researched Phenomenon

      Conway, Shane Francis; Farrell, Maura; McDonagh, John; Kinsella, Anne (International Farm Management Association and Institute of Agricultural Management, 2020)
      Interest in land mobility and its impact on the structural development and economic growth of the agricultural sector has grown considerably amid concerns about the ageing European farming population. There have been calls throughout Europe for structural and institutional deterrents obstructing the passage of farmland from the older to younger generation of farmers to overcome this phenomenon and help facilitate generational renewal in agriculture. Nonetheless, gaining access to land is widely reported to be the single largest barrier facing young people attempting to enter farming. Whilst land mobility is given homogenous importance throughout Europe, this view point paper highlights that policies and regulations relating to land differ considerably across EU Member States. There is also a surprising scarcity of literature and academic discussion on access to land in a European context, despite its crucial role in the survival, continuity and future prosperity of the farming industry and the broader sustainability of rural communities. By focussing on the key policy and structural issues hampering access to agricultural land throughout Europe, and using the Republic of Ireland’s Land Mobility Service as a good practice example of how to help facilitate the process, this paper provides a rationale for why a major European study is required to investigate the factors which influence land mobility in each of the 27 EU Member States in order to inform future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans, particularly in relation to generational renewal objectives.
    • Till death do us part: Exploring the Irish farmer-farm relationship in later life through the lens of ‘Insideness’

      Conway, Shane Francis; McDonagh, John; Farrell, Maura; Kinsella, Anne; National University of Ireland, Galway; Geographical Society of Ireland (International Farm Management Association and Institute of Agricultural Management, 2018)
      The senior generation’s unwillingness to relinquish managerial duties and retire is a globally recognized characteristic of intergenerational family farm transfer. This is despite the array of financial incentives put in place to stimulate and entice the process. Applying Rowles’ concept of ‘insideness’ as a theoretical framework, this paper brings into focus the suitability and appropriateness of previous and existing farm transfer policy strategies, by presenting an insightful, nuanced analysis of the deeply embedded attachment older farmers have with their farms, and how such a bond can stifle the necessary hand over of the farm business to the next generation. This research employs a multi-method triangulation design, consisting of a self-administered questionnaire and an Irish adaptation of the International FARMTRANSFERS Survey in conjunction with complimentary Problem-Centred Interviews, to generate a comprehensive insight into the intricate, multi-level farmer-farm relationship in later life. The overriding themes to emerge from the content analysis of the empirical research are farmer’s inherit desire to stay rooted in place in old age and also to maintain legitimate connectedness within the farming community by remaining active and productive on the farm. Additionally, there is a strong sense of nostalgia attributed to the farm, as it is found to represent a mosaic of the farmer’s achievements as well as being a landscape of memories. The paper concludes by suggesting that a greater focus on the farmer-farm relationship has the potential to finally unite farm transfer policy efforts with the mind-set of its targeted audience, after decades of disconnect.
    • MEASURING GHG EMISSIONS ACROSS THE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR VALUE CHAIN: THE DEVELOPMENT OF BIO - A BIO-ECONOMY INPUT-OUTPUT MODEL

      O’Donoghue, Cathal; Chyzheuskaya, Aksana; Grealis, Eoin; Finnegan, William; Goggin, Jamie; Hynes, Stephen; Kilcline, Kevin; Ryan, Mary; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON FOOD SYSTEM DYNAMICS, 2018)
      Sustainable intensification is one of the greatest challenges facing the agri-food sector which needs to produce more food to meet increasing global demand, while minimising negative environmental impacts such as agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Sustainable intensification relates not just to primary production, but also has wider value chain implications. An input-output model is a modelling framework which contains the flows across a value chain within a country. Input-output (IO) models have been disaggregated to have finer granular detail in relation to agricultural sub-sectoral value chains. National IO models with limited agricultural disaggregation have been developed to look at carbon footprints and within agriculture to look at the carbon footprint of specific value chains. In this paper we adapt an agriculturally disaggregated IO model to analyse the source of emissions in different components of agri-food value chains. We focus on Ireland, where emissions from agriculture comprise nearly 30% of national emissions and where there has been a major expansion and transformation in agriculture since the abolition of milk quota restrictions. In a substantial Annex to this paper, we describe the modelling assumptions made in developing this model. Breaking up the value chain into components, we find that most value is generated at the processing stage of the value chain, with greater processing value in more sophisticated value chains such as dairy processing. On the other hand, emissions are in general highest in primary production, albeit emissions from purchased animal feed being higher for poultry than for other value chains, given the lower direct emissions from poultry than from ruminants or sheep. The analysis highlights that emissions per unit of output are much higher for beef and sheep meat value chains than for pig and poultry meat value chains.