CEJA celebrated its 60th anniversary in the historic town of Ieper today. The event was attended by around 180 guests including young farmers from across Europe, politicians, academics, stakeholders from the agricultural sector and members of the media.
Guests took part in a conference that included the showcasing of best practices by four young farmers on specific topics of interest (innovation, environmental sustainability, the empowerment of women in agriculture and communication). This was followed by a cocktail reception with products from young farmers and the possibility to view a photography exhibition with the theme of “Farming for the Future”.
Guests then attended the Last Post Ceremony at Ieper’s Menin Gate in order to commemorate 100 years since the ending of the First World War. Afterwards they were invited to a gala dinner in the town’s iconic Cloth Hall.
“As much as we have evolved as an organisation over the past 60 years, we have stayed one in our diversity. Diverse in our background, language, types of production and scale. But especially one in our dreams, ambitions and in the challenges we face. The European agricultural debate has also changed over the years. It is our responsibility as young farmers to continue to take an active role in these discussions,” said CEJA President Jannes Maes.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said: “It is my honour to be here with you in Ieper today to celebrate your 60th anniversary […] I was a young farmer myself, and I understand the ins and outs of a life spent working on the land […] I want to do everything in my power to speed up generational renewal, because your generation is our best bet to keep EU agriculture competitive, sustainable and at the heart of our rural communities.”
The event’s main sponsors, DeLaval and Massey Ferguson, made the following statements:
“CEJA being the strong voice representing young farmers of Europe and a driving force for an innovative and sustainable agricultural sector gives us a great reason to congratulate CEJA and 60 years of great achievements and many more achievements to come. Happy anniversary!” said Paul Löfgren, Executive Vice President Cluster EMEA at DeLaval.
“Over the last six years, our partnership with CEJA has gone from strength to strength, driven by our shared vision to secure the success of the new generation of farmers. As one of the world’s leading agricultural machinery brands, we are fully committed to encouraging and promoting young farmers in their endeavours to produce food efficiently, sustainably and profitably. As our brand is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018, we are really proud to be close to CEJA to celebrate its 60th anniversary as well,” said Francesco Murro, Director Marketing Massey Ferguson Europe & Middle East.
The event was a success and highlighted the importance of young farmers to the future of EU agriculture. At an extraordinary General Assembly the day before, CEJA delegates approved unanimously two new observer members: NFU Next Gen from the UK and the Panhellenic Young Farmers’ Association from Greece.
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CEJA represents the political interests of around two million young farmers from across Europe. Its main objectives are to facilitate the installation of young farmers, to inform and to train them as well as act as a forum for communication and dialogue between them.