European young farmers are environmentally conscious and want to be recognised by civil society for their work sustaining local communities. But, despite the obstacles, most believe a future in the farming sector is possible the report says.
The “European Young Farmers: Building a Sustainable Sector” report was launched at the European Parliament. Speakers at the inaugural conference included EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and Dutch MEP Jan Huitema.
Opening the conference, CEJA President Jannes Maes said: “Without young farmers in the fields of Europe the future of food production and open landscapes would be compromised.” He said the report would raise awareness about the situation of young farmers across the EU.
Lars Johansson, DeLaval’s Sustainability SVP, said: “young farmers clearly feel responsible for sustainability in agriculture.” He added that Europe needs to invest more in agricultural research and focus it in specific areas.
Addressing the young farmers in the audience, Commissioner Hogan said: “We need a constructive approach between Member States and Commission. Access to finance is important. Young farmers deserve additional support.”
MEP Huitema, who chaired the conference’s panel discussion, said: “We must close the gap between citizens and farmers” and added that he was proud to be a young farmer himself.
Around 100 people attended the conference including young farmers from across the EU, NGOs, industry associations, and EU and national officials.