FARM land in Fermanagh has plummeted in value, by over a quarter, a major report on land prices has revealed.
While last year the Irish Farmers Journal Land Price Report brought good news for land owners here in the county, with the survey finding the average price of land in Fermanagh had jumped by over 10 percent in 2019 to an average of £7,952 per acre, this year’s report made for less optimistic reading.
According to this year’s report, which assesses 2020 prices, the average price per acre in Fermanagh has dropped by 27 percent to £5,776 per acre. That is the lowest in the North, and among the lowest in all of Ireland.
The situation is even worse for hill farmers, with the above price “for land which can be described as arable, cuttable for silage, or good quality grazing”, according to the Journal. Its report revealed for hill and rough grazing the price was an average of £2,895 per acre.
Local MLA Jemma Dolan said she was “disappointed yet not surprised” by the reports findings, which also revealed Leitrim had among the lowest land prices in the country too.
“As a representative of Fermanagh and as someone from a farming family, I strongly believe that the extremely low average land value of £5,776 per acre is due to the fact that Fermanagh is 91.8 percent designated as Area of Natural Constraint (ANC) or Severely Disadvantaged Land (SDL),” she said.
“This restricts farming options and introduces extra challenges such as an extended winter season and additional fodder costs.
“If we compare average land prices with county Armagh which is 17 percent ANC designated and where the average price per acre is £13,914, the difference with Fermanagh is staggering.”
As reported in last week’s Herald, Ms Dolan had been calling for support for a Private Members Bill in the Assembly that is calling for more support for local hill farmers and those in ANC and SDL areas, by restoring payments for farmers in Fermanagh which farmers in the South still get.
“In the past, farmers in Fermanagh and other marginal areas had the Less Favoured Areas Compensation Allowance and then the ANC payment but since it was axed a few years ago, farmers are feeling the extra pressure,” she said.
“This is why it is important that farmers and rural dwellers get behind the legislation that has been tabled by Sinn Fein to restore the ANC payment.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition