Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, described the statement made recently, that referred to a farm value of €750k capable of generating an annual income of just over €41,000 as “meaningless” Professor Boyle was reacting to media reports of proposals that the children of business owners with assets of over €750,000 would not qualify for third level education maintenance grants.
“It makes little sense to take a particular asset value and assign a single income to that asset class, when the range of income at that asset class is likely to be substantial,” fumed Professor Boyle, adding that there was “a basic understanding” of the nature of farm income data which was revealed in the article.
“Farm incomes at every farm size level or asset class are notoriously variable, and the Teagasc National Farm Survey for 2011 shows that average Family Farm Income was €24,461 - the highest for many years. It should also be borne in mind that reported farm incomes relate to all family members that depend on the farm for a livelihood, and there are many farms that will have more than one family member gainfully employed. For compatibility with non-farm income it would be preferable to calculate farm income per family labour unit.”