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Agriculture in Ireland

Spotlight on Irish farming as the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

By Diego Flammini,

Green beer? Check.
Shamrock sunglasses? Check.
Kiss me I’m Irish t-shirt? Check.

At pubs, houses and other establishments throughout the world, green beer will be served, jigs will be performed, parades will be marched and there will be shamrocks aplenty as March 17th - St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated.

For the uninformed, St. Patrick is responsible for using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) to the pagans and bringing Christianity to Ireland – which is sometimes described as St. Patrick driving the snakes away from Ireland.

However, Ireland provides much more than just a reason to wear green and drink coloured beer every March 17th.

Farming and agriculture play a large role on the Emerald Isle as is shown by the following stats from Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  • Ireland’s Gross Agricultural Output for 2013 was 7.26 billion Euros, equal to about $7.7 billion U.S.
  • In 2012, agriculture was responsible for approximately 87,000 jobs
  • 33,318 people were employed specifically by Ireland’s food sector in 2010
  • About 139,000 family farms were reported in Ireland in 2010 with an average size of 32.7 hectares, or 80 acres
  • Ireland’s 2011 total agricultural exports were more than 6.1 billion Euros which is equal to approximately $6.48 U.S.
  • Their top export destination in 2011 was Great Britain with 2.4 billion Euros or $2.55 billion U.S.
  • The United States imported 142 million Euros or $150 million U.S. worth of agricultural products
  • Canada imported more than $1 million CAD in agricultural goods from Ireland in 2012.

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