Young Irish farmers are in favor of same-sex marriage ahead of next year’s referendum, according to the country’s leading youth farm organization.
A poll conducted by Macra na Feirme, Ireland’s national organization of young farmers, shows support for the 'yes' vote in the 2015 referendum.
TheJournal.ie reports that the majority of farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 are in favor of the introduction of same-sex marriage.
The survey found that 52 percent of those polled support same-sex marriage.
Only 23.1 percent said they would vote against it, with 24.9 percent still undecided ahead of the referendum next spring.
Macra president Kieran O’Dowd told the Journal that he wasn’t ‘particularly surprised’ by the findings of the survey.
He said: “I’m more heartened to see young farmers following the same trends as Irish society in general.
“Part of the explanation for this is that, where older farmers traditionally didn’t often have the opportunity to move away from home, or go to college and meet people from many different backgrounds, young farmers are doing that.
“Another major factor is the influence of pop culture. That permeates all levels of Irish society, and young farmers are no exception.”
O’Dowd explained how Macra teamed up last year with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network – GLEN – to promote mental health among rural youth and the LGBT community in particular.
The latest survey marks the first time the organization has asked its members this question.
The report says it will go some way toward smashing the stereotype of conservative and insular farmers.
O’Dowd also wants to explode some other myths about young Irish farmers.
He added: “The most prevalent, is that young farmers become young farmers by doing nothing.
“There is this idea that they ‘fall into’ farming. That young farmers inherit the farm, or they’re left to take it over because they don’t go away to college.
“That’s not true. People are consciously choosing farming as a career, and young farmers are driving innovation and adaptation, and will be crucial to the future of agriculture in Ireland.”
O’Dowd also insists that young farmers are aware of environmental issues.
He stressed: “Farmers, traditionally, are not regarded as particularly environmentally conscious. That’s something that this generation is changing.
“What people don’t understand is that it’s actually in farmers’ best interest to make sure land and habitats are managed in a sustainable way, and it’s actually farmers who are best placed to do that.”