Parliament calls for less barriers for young people in farming 

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  • Only 12 % of farm managers are under 40 years old  
  • Young farmers need better access to land and loans 
  • Training and advisory services should be available for new farmers  
  • Impact of EU policies on young farmers should be assessed 

European Parliament advocates for removing barriers to access farming for young people.

The resolution on the Generational renewal in the EU farms of the future, adopted on Thursday by 447 votes to 14 and 7 abstentions, warn that demographic decline is more pronounced in rural populations and farmers then in other parts of society. MEPs therefore call for public policies creating fair and dignified income and a quality of life for farmers and their families to encourage generational renewal on EU farms.

Access to land for young farmers

Young farmers are two to three times more likely to have loan applications to start or expand their agricultural businesses rejected, points out the adopted text. MEPs therefore propose to offer lower interest rates and support for the first loan instalment as well as advisory to young farmers.

High price and low availability of land is another obstacle identified by the resolution. Parliament thus calls on the Commission to evaluate the possibility of action at EU level, including through legislative instruments, to improve the functioning of national farmland markets, enhance young farmers’ access to land and contribute to addressing land concentration and land grabbing issues. An EU observatory on farmland to monitor trends and prices for land sale and rental should be establish in order to ensure greater transparency of land transactions in the EU.

Financial support and targeted legislation

The resolution calls for national strategies to promote generational change including financial support for land transfers and pension protection. EU countries should also create a position of a farm succession facilitator that can provide guidance during farm transfers from one generation to the next.

EU and national policies should be in line with the needs of young farmers, say MEPs and propose that the Commission ensures that these needs are reflected in the impact assessments for new policies.

Training and internet in rural areas

MEPs highlight that young farmers are more likely to apply new technologies and implement sustainable farming practices. The resolution therefore stresses the need to provide young farmers with access to reliable internet as well as training on digital skills, business planning or innovative practices.

Quote

EP rapporteur Isabel Carvalhais (S&D, PT) said: “Young people starting a professional activity in agriculture face strong barriers requiring a more intense and effective action from different national and European policies. Our report is a contribution to help define future policies and measures to support young farmers. Young farmers believe there is a future in agriculture. It is up to politics to create the conditions to make that future brighter.”

Background

In 2020, 57.6% of farm managers were at least 55 years old and approximately only 12 % of farm managers were under 40 years old.