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Emma Dillon

Research Officer

Research Interests

As an Economist and Senior Research Officer with the Teagasc National Farm Survey (FADN) team Emma has a multi-faceted role in terms of survey design, data analysis and reporting of key trends in contemporary Irish agriculture.

Primarily through policy modelling at the farm level, research areas of interest include sustainability measurement and structural change on Irish dairy farms, with a particular focus on technology adoption, labour efficiency and land mobility.  She is also currently leading research on generational renewal on Irish farms, the viability of small farms and the development of new metrics for social sustainability across farm systems. 

Current Projects

  • MEF4CAP (H2020) Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for the Common Agricultural Policy https://mef4cap.eu/ (Project Partner).
  • RENEW 2050 Rural Generational Renewal 2050. Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Research Stimulus Fund. (Task Leader).
  • Examining labour input and the uptake of on-farm technologies using the Teagasc National Farm Survey (PI).
  • The sustainability and resilience of small farming in Ireland (PI).
  • FADN –Farm Accountancy Data Network, representative for Ireland (2016-present).

PhD supervision

  • Labour input and economic efficiency on Irish dairy farms – Luis Garcia Covarrubias 
  • Economic modelling of agricultural land markets – Tracy Bradfield 
  • Developing indicators of the social sustainability of farming using the Teagasc National Farm Survey – Mary Brennan 
  • Measuring the impact of extension services on farm-level sustainability and innovation – Lorraine Balaine 


Ph.D. Economics, Trinity College Dublin.
B.A. Single Hons. Economics, Trinity College Dublin.


  • Executive Member Agricultural Economics Society (UK)
  • Associate Editor International Journal of Agricultural Management
  • Honorary Secretary Agricultural Economics Society of Ireland (2009-2016).

Academic Awards

  • Government of Ireland Research Scholarship for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2005-2007).
  • Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (2005-2008).


  • Regan, A., Clifford, S., Burrell, A.M.G., Balaine, L. and Dillon, E. (2021). Exploring the relationship between mastitis risk perceptions and farmers’ readiness to engage in milk recording.  Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 193.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2021.105393
  • Brennan, M., Hennessy, T. and Dillon, E. (2020). Towards a better measurement of the social sustainability of Irish agriculture. J. Sustainable Development, Vol. 23, Nos. ¾. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJSD.2020.115229
  • Henchion, M., McCarthy, M., Dillon, E.J., Greehy, G., McCarthy, S.N. (2019). Big issues for a small technology: Consumer trade-offs in acceptance of nanotechnology in food. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies. 
  • Bradfield, T., Butler, R., Dillon, E., Hennessy, T. and Kilgarriff, P. (2020). The Effect of Land Fragmentation on the Technical Inefficiency of Dairy Farms. Journal of Agricultural Economics. https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12413
  • Bradfield, T., Butler, R., Dillon, E. J. and Hennessy, T. (2020). The factors influencing the profitability of leased land on dairy farms in Ireland. Land Use Policy, 95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104649 
  • Balaine, L., Dillon, E.J., Läpple, D., Lynch, J. (2020). Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farms. Land use policy, 92. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104437 
  • Lynch, J., Donnellan, T., Finn, John. A., Dillon, E. and Ryan, M. (2019).  Potential development of Irish agricultural sustainability indicators for current and future policy evaluation needs.  Journal of Environmental Management 230:434-445.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.09.070 
  • Dillon, E.J., Hennessy, T., Howley, P., Cullinan, J., Heanue, K. and Cawley, A. (2018). Routine inertia and reactionary response in animal health best practice.  Agriculture and Human Values, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 207–221https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-017-9817-5 
  • Kelly, E., Latruffe, L., Finn, J., Ryan, M. and Dillon, E. (2018) Sustainability indicators for accurate agricultural policy evaluation across the EU: Is FADN the answer? Ecological Indicators, Vol. 89, pp 903-911. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.12.053
  • Howley P, Dillon E, Heanue K, Meredith D. Worth the Risk? The Behavioural Path to Well-Being (2017). Journal of Agricultural Economics 68(2):534-552. https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12202 
  • Dillon, E.J, Hennessy, T, and Cullinan, J. (2016). The role of agricultural education and extension in influencing best practice for managing mastitis in dairy cattle. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension. 22(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2015.1063518 
  • Dillon, E.J., Hennessy, T., Buckley, C., Donnellan, T., Hanrahan, K., Moran, B. and Ryan, M. (2016). Measuring progress in agricultural sustainability to support policy making. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2015.1012413
  • Dillon, E.J, Hennessy, T, and Cullinan, J. (2015) Measuring the economic impact of improved control of sub-clinical mastitis in Irish dairy herds. Journal of Agricultural Science 153(4). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859614001178

Selected recent reports