Without young farmers in the fields of Europe the future of food production and open landscapes would be compromised says Jannes Maes, President of CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers) in a new report on building a sustainable farming sector.
MF: CEJA launched its new report ‘European Young Farmers: Building a Sustainable Sector’ on 27 September at the European Parliament. This is a significant document for farming. Can you gives us some background on it?
JM: With discussions on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in full swing and increasing interest in sustainability, understanding the needs of European young farmers is more important than ever. The report is based on a survey put together by CEJA and DeLaval, the milking machines supplier, which was sent to young farmers across the EU-28. Finding out the needs of young farmers, their attitude to sustainability and the environment, and their characteristics, were among the survey’s aims. Another objective was to make the results available to policymakers and the general public in order to raise awareness about the situation of young farmers in the EU. Attracting young people to the agricultural sector and making sure those already in it remain is crucial to the well-being of European society as a whole.
MF: What were some of the findings of the report?
JM: One of its key findings showed that a large majority (61.76%) of young farmers considers their future in the sector to be viable only under certain circumstances. Only 20.86% of respondents consider it very likely. The result is disturbing and mirrors the low figure of around 6% of farmers who are under the age of 35 in the EU.
MF: What did young farmers believe to be the chief requirements for a viable future?
JM: A fair income level, access to land, the simplification of administrative procedures and fair competition from global markets were considered the main requirements by young farmers to develop their farm in an economically sustainable way.
MF: What was the feeling about sustainable agriculture?
JM:The survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of young farmers (89.78%) feels responsible for ensuring a sustainable agricultural sector. Young farmers care about preserving the environment in which they work and live, as well as needing civil society to recognise their provision of public goods.
MF: Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development was at the launch of the report. What did he have to say?
JM: Yes, it was great to have Mr Hogan there and he pointed out that young farmers deserve additional support. He emphasised that we need a constructive approach between Member States and the Commission, and that access to finance is important.
MF: What do you want the report to achieve?
JM: Whether young farmers will be better provided for in future remains to be seen. What is certain is that the publication of the report is a step in the right direction in terms of better understanding the challenges young farmers face today.
To see the full report, click here: European Young Farmers: Building a Sustainable Sector
If you would like to get in contact with Jannes Maes or CEJA, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to: Massey Ferguson Global Facebook page
Go to: CEJA Young Farmers Facebook page