The CEJA General Assembly 2016, entitled “Opening the Farm Gates to the Future – Access to Land and Credit for Young Farmers” took place yesterday and featured the European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan addressing leading young farmers from across Europe at Residence Palace in Brussels, Belgium. The Commissioner underlined his commitment to generational renewal across the Union, pledging to work directly with CEJA in order to foster additional support measures and policy instruments to address the barriers to access agriculture which stand in the way of many young people’s gates to the farming sector.
Commissioner Hogan’s intervention featured as part of a wider discussion on current conditions in terms of access to land and credit and what initiatives are available to young farmers at the moment, and how these can be improved and promoted. The debate featured input from the Head of Agribusiness and Rural Development at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Dr. Jahn on what the EIB can offer in terms of support for young farmers, accompanied by the national bank’s perspective from Jan Leyten, Agricultural Economist at KBC. Both underlined the importance of young farmers and the access to credit they need to obtain from financial institutions. Mr. Austin Finn, Programme Manager from the Land Mobility Service in Ireland, also addressed CEJA young farmers on the Irish best practice of assisting the setting up of succession partnerships between old and young farmers in order to facilitate young farmers’ access to land. CEJA is strongly in favour of such a succession scheme at EU-level.
Addressing the Commissioner in his speech, CEJA President Alan Jagoe made it clear that young farmers “need an ambitious CAP reform that is targeted, efficient and progressive in the manner it supports and grows agriculture into the future. With that in mind, CEJA is working hard to develop a new and a sustainable model for a vibrant CAP that we hope will form the basis for the next reform.”
The discussion on access to land and credit followed an internal day of meetings on Monday, during which leading young farmer representatives from across Europe discussed new definitions of ‘active farmer’ and ‘young farmer’ for future CAP regulation.