Noting that the aging demographic of farmers is a significant challenge in the EU – over 50% of farm managers are at least 55 years old – the report makes a number of calls and recommendations to ensure the future of agriculture in the bloc. This includes:
- Promotion of land access for young farmers
- An EU observatory on farmland to monitor trends and prices for selling and renting of land
- Greater financial support for young farmers
- Creation of a farm succession facilitator to provide assistance and advice to young farmers
- Greater involvement of young farmers in policy making
The report also notes that younger farmers will be the most impacted by climate change. However, they are also more engaged in sustainable farming methods and generally embrace the use of new technologies to facilitate the transition to greener farming.
The report is an ‘initiative report’, which means it is not legally binding. However, Ceja – the voice of Europe’s young farmers – hailed the vote as a success and a positive step for young farmers. Next, the report will go to a plenary vote. This is expected to take place in October.
Young Farmer support in the UK
Cymru: In June 2023, the Celebration of Welsh Food & Farming event in Cardiff saw NFU Cymru launch its ‘Framing the future for the next generation’ report. The report outlines a number of key asks, many of which align with the EU report. These include increased support for young farmers alongside greater access to capital grants and finance.
England: the 'New Entrant Support Scheme' pilot is underway as part of the Agricultural Transition Plan. This aims to encourage new entrants to the industry for example by providing tactical support to young businesses during the early stages of development.