Tricia Braid

Mar 17, 2016  |  Today's News

St. Patrick’s Day can be about more than just green beer and the luck of the Irish. Ireland’s agriculture industry has an interesting history, and the role of Irish immigrants in Illinois’ history is not to be forgotten, either. As an ages-old Irish blessing goes, “Bless those minding cattle, And those minding sheep, And those fishing the sea, While the rest of us sleep.” took a look at Ireland and agriculture and provided the following information.

Farming plays an important role on the Emerald Isle and is a key contributor to many of the country’s industries.

According to information from the European Union’s agricultural census in Ireland, the number of people with regular employment on farms grew from 257,950 in 2000 to 272,020 in 2010.

“The agricultural labour force represented 12.5 per cent of the active population in 2010,” the data states.

Ireland Agricultural Highlights:

  • As of 2011 there were 139,860 family farms in Ireland with an average size of 32.7 hectares
  • Of Ireland’s 6.9 million hectares of total land, about 4.5 million are used for agriculture
  • Gross Agricultural Output in 2015 was about €7.12 billion, or approximately $8 billion USD
  • Potato yields increased from 38.2 tons per hectare in 2013 to 40.5 tons per hectare in 2014
  • Canada imported over $164 million CAD worth of agri-food products from Ireland in 2014

So why is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated anyway?

St. Patrick is responsible for using shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) to the pagans and bringing Christianity to Ireland; it’s sometimes described as St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 as that’s the storied date of his death.