Agricultural Economics

Agricultural Economics

Leaving Cert Agricultural Economics Syllabus

The leaving cert agricultural economics syllabus outlines the key topics covered on the subject for both ordinary and higher level. The syllabus was introduced in 2004 and and was updated in 2006 in digital format. It recommends that the course is studied over a period of two years for 3 hours per week. There is a practical project and oral based on this worth 20% of the overall mark. The projects are based on one of the following options:

  • records and accounts for an entire farm external to the school, that the learner is associated for a period of one year
  • an economic survey of the learner’s electoral or parish area
  • or another suitable based in relation to agricultural economics

The remaining 80% of the course is covered by a two and a half hour written examination that is completed during the normal leaving certificate examinations cycle in June. The exam paper for both ordinary and higher level includes two sections. Section 1 includes 15 short answer questions and is worth 120 marks. Section 2 has 4 questions worth 50 marks each and requires more detailed answers. The key areas studies on the agricultural economics syllabus for the leaving cert are outlined below:

  • Agricultural Industry
  • Economic Principles
  • Application of economics on an individual farm
  • Economics for the farming industry

The course content for the section on Agricultural Industry includes: overview of farming in Ireland and other countries; outline of how farming developed in Ireland after the famine and a detailed look at post world war 2 development; Ireland’s agricultural foreign trade products and how this fits in to total Irish exports across industries; contribution of the agricultural industry to the gross national product.

The Economic principles section includes the following in relation to the agricultural industry: Concepts of economics; Demands and the factors influencing demand with agriculture; Supply including short and long term views; Markets and competition within agriculture on a global scale and how Irish farm produce links to this along with Government support.

When looking at how economics are applied on individual farms the course content covers: The farm as a business and how decisions are made by the farmer to maximise profit; Costs including fixed and variable and valuation of assets; Recording of farm accounts in relation to different livestock; Different accounting systems and the advantages and disadvantages of different systems; Analysis of accounts using different analysis methods; Planning and budgeting for the farm; Finance including credit and capital needed to expand the farm as a business.

Finally, economics for the framing industry looks at: Economic growth of farming; Farmers’ incomes compared to other sectors including why this is lower than other sectors; Farming policies and why they are needed; Alternatives to current policies and making changes to improve efficiency and reorganise farms including education for farmers; State aid for agricultural based businesses in Ireland.

Exam Papers and Marking Schemes for Leaving Cert Agricultural Economics

When preparing for your leaving certificate exam in agricultural economics we would suggest using the past papers and marking schemes to help you. Our exam papers section includes leaving cert agricultural economics exam papers and marking schemes for all years from 2004 until present.

The format of the agricultural economics paper is quite similar every year and the marking schemes will really help you understand how to structure your answers and obtain a good grade. An example of one of the short answer questions in section A of the 2015 paper is “State two contributions agriculture makes to Irish society, other than its economic contribution.” and some of the example answers provided in the marking scheme are: “Management/protection of habitats, Contribution to maintaining vibrant communities in rural and remote areas, Food security and Maintenance of the aesthetic beauty of the countryside (tourism).” Using the past exam papers and marking schemes and creating mind maps to organise the theory for section A can really set you up to score a high grade in the paper. While leaving cert agricultural economics will not be the most popular subject out there it is one that can really prepare you to manage a farm or do a further or higher education course in agriculture. There is an excellent opportunity to get a high score also if you manage your study effectively using the exam papers and marking schemes.

Our leaving cert past exam papers page will also help you prepare for the leaving cert exams for other subjects in a similar manner.