‘I Like It - I Just Don’t Know What To Do With It’: The Student-Successor In Irish Family Farming

Anne Cassidy

Abstract


This paper explores some of the issues facing Irish university students who are likely to succeed to the farm. This group must juggle responsibilities to their family and the landholding while simultaneously forging their professional careers away from the farm. Increasing numbers of Irish family farming offspring participate in third-level education and go on to pursue non-farming careers. Despite this, there is no evidence of the rate of land sale increasing, which is relatively unsurprising given the attachment of farm families to the land. This implies that most of this population have to navigate two distinctive roles: that of a farm successor; and that of a student, intending to pursue a career away from the farm. In light of the elderly demographic profile of farm holders in Ireland, the rate of inter-generational farm transfers will increase in the coming years. Therefore, it is opportune to examine some of the issues that this group confront. The data for this work is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with 13 participants from an original cohort of 30 students who took part in PhD research. The analysis establishes that this group’s duality is an example of how family farming can adapt to social pressures whilst still retaining its own cultural norms by ensuring that the farm is passed onto the next generation. However, this is not without some challenges as highlighted in the work where conflicted attitudes to succession are discussed as well as how the farm is viewed, the likely nature of the interviewees’ future relationship with the holding, and the dual path they have as students and heirs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2014/igj.v50i2.1322

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:irg:ie:0000-igj.v50i2.13228

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:irg:ie:0000-igj.v50i2.1322.g11143

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