Nothing tells the story of a farming sector in trouble like the younger generations giving up. Farmers under 40 years old now manage only 12 percent of all farms in the EU. This demographic undermines the continuity and dynamism the sector needs and weakens certain rural areas.
Generation renewal in farms was made one of the 10 priority objectives of the new Common Agricultural Policy, as reflected in Member States' National Strategic Plans, but more needs to be done across the EU to increase the profession’s attractiveness for new generations and help farms being passed on to younger farmers, men and women.
Renew Europe Shadow MEP Jérémy Decerle (Liste L'Europe Ensemble, France) explains:
“We need to take the issue of generational renewal in agriculture very seriously. Our economy and our societies expect a great deal, and more and more, from agriculture. The first condition for meeting these expectations is that there should be enough men and women committed to this fine profession. It's up to all of us to make this possible.”
The Report on Generational Renewal in EU Farms green lighted by the European Parliament today points out the way to get there. It identifies challenges and makes recommendations at both EU and national level, to support young farmers to develop professionally while ensuring that the farming lifestyle remains attractive. Renew Europe supports the multi-dimensional approach of the report that goes deeper into funding, fiscal incentives and practical support to help young farmers especially in the installation phase; possible actions at EU and national level to improve access to land, whether by purchase or rental; improving professional representation and networking to share farmers’ experiences. Renew Europe firmly believes that ensuring the future of agriculture means investing in education and training opportunities, which are necessary to equip young farmers to develop their businesses and thrive in a profession that is increasingly integrating new practices, new technologies and the search for innovative solutions.