The second edition of the series of CEJA Presidential interviews features Svend Nygaard, Chairman of Landboungdom, the Danish Young Farmers’ organisation.
Job: Fulltime chairman for the young farmers in Denmark.
How did you get into farming? I grew up on a dairy farm, and have always found it really interesting to work with cows.
Are you the head of the holding? No.
How did you get into young farmer representation? I got asked by a friend last year if I would like to run for representation in the organisation. After I was selected, I found that it was interesting work, and that I could help other young farmers to have a better and funnier day. So when I got asked if I would like to run for the place as chairman, I didn’t have to think for long before I said yes.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? I hope that I will have my own dairy farm, and that I’m still with my girlfriend, or at that time hopefully my wife.
What do you think about the new CAP, and how do you see it affecting you and other young farmers in your Member State? I think that the new CAP offers a lot of good things for young farmers. In Denmark, the Danish government have listened to what the young farmers had to say, so we have got as much as we can.
What are the most popular types of farm for young farmers in your Member State and why? In Denmark it will be dairy farms, and I think that’s because of the more all-round workday, with both indoor and outdoor work. If you work on a pig farm, you are mostly working inside all day, and that doesn’t attract young farmers.
What do you think should be done in your Member State to promote generational renewal in the farming population? In Denmark can we loan up to 90% from the bank, and at the end of September this year, we were given a new opportunity to get some of the other 10% in a loan too. But we still need the government to make some changes to the tax system. Today a young farmer pays around € 65.000 to the government in tax when buying a farm.
What recent achievements has your organisation accomplished? That would be obtaining the new opportunity to get a loan on the last 10% of the trade price on the farm.
How many young farmers does your organisation represent and what kind of services does it provide its young farmer members? We have 3.500 members aged 16 to 35. A lot of our members are still studying at agricultural college, so a lot of the services we provide help them to find training placements, and we offer a lot of social and academic activities for them. We are also on the committee for agricultural education, so we can make sure that they are getting the best education. We also have championships in tractor pulling and plowing.
What do you think are the advantages of farming in Denmark compared to other EU Member States? I think that the advantage of farming in Denmark is that we have really high food safety on our produce. We also have some really good companies processing our products, and selling them in both Denmark and in the rest of the world.
What would you like to achieve within your organisation and within CEJA in your time as President of the Danish young farmers’ association? My hope is that it will be easy for young farmers to buy their own farm. Our members are a part of the rural area, and finding new members is difficult, but I will hopefully go about getting more members to join our organisation. I see CEJA as a really important partner in our work, and we will use CEJA as a place where we can share experiencesand knowledge with young farmers from the other countries in EU. We are not a strong lobbying organisation; we have at limited budget, and we therefore need to look very closely at what we spend our money on.