Ifac: 70% of farmers want online sales to continue post-pandemic

Over 70% of farmers say they want online buying and selling at marts to continue post-pandemic, according to ifac’s annual Farm Report.

1,700 farmers across the country participated in the recent survey, which has revealed the true impact of Covid-19 on the farming community, from the accelerated adoption of technology on the farm to the rise in social isolation and loss of community engagement.

86% of farmers say broadband is now essential, making the rollout of rural broadband an urgent requirement across the country for business tasks including banking. One in two say they use herd and breeding software on their farms.

When it comes to farmer wellbeing, three in four (75%) say they will take the Covid-19 vaccine (with 19% unsure and 6% not planning to take a vaccine) and almost a third (31%) of farmers risk burnout by not taking a holiday (for at least a week) in the last three years or more.

Also, three in four (75%) say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their social life, and two out of five (42%) say they don’t know who to call for support.

The survey also highlights the opportunities for farmers in relation to their preparation for the future. For the third year in a row, the survey results indicate that farmers of all ages are continuing to put off succession planning; less than a quarter (24%) have identified a future successor, with almost one in three (31%) saying their farm business is not viable.

Additionally, three out of five (58%) don’t complete any budgets or cash flows; of those who employ non-family farm labour, only 21% have written contracts of employment in place and only 17% have an employee handbook; and less than a quarter (24%) know how much they need to have in their pension to provide a €200 per week income from the age of 65.