Jannes Maes has announced that he will step down as CEJA president in order to pursue a new professional opportunity, according to European young farmers’ organisation CEJA today (Tuesday, January 19).

The announcement was made at today’s extraordinary general assembly; the outgoing president will be replaced as of today by current CEJA vice-president Samuel Masse.

Masse is taking over the position of CEJA president until the next CEJA Board elections which will take place in June 2021.

A member of CEJA Board since 2015, Maes was elected in June 2019 CEJA president for the second time by CEJA delegates.

Looking back at his time at CEJA, the outgoing president said: “Representing the community of European young farmers over the past few years has been a challenging but rewarding mandate to fulfil.

“It is through the dedication of all people involved in our Europe-wide structure, young farmers and members of staff, that we are able to speak in one voice despite our internal diversity

It was and remains crucial that policymakers take into account the difficulties, dynamics and ambitions of those who are considered as ‘gumboots on the ground’ in the challenges of our time.

“I wish to thank our members, the CEJA staff and board for their hard work and constructive attitude in the past years. I wish Samuel and his team the best of luck for the coming weeks and months.”

CEJA’s new president Samuel Masse thanked Maes for his work as president.

Looking to the future, he said: “We have a few months left until the end of CEJA Board’s current mandate and the new elections.

“I want to build on the momentum generated the past months and deliver on the goals defined in June 2019 when CEJA Board took office.

We will follow the political agenda and continue our lobbying efforts to make the voice of young farmers heard in the EU arena. A particular emphasis will be laid in the coming weeks on the EU’s recovery plan and the CAP national Strategic Plans.

Masse is a winegrower from the south of France, working with his brother on what was once their grandparents’ farm.

He has 20ha of organic vines in “PDO Languedoc” and “PGI Pays d’Oc”. Masse studied viticulture and oenology and did internships in the USA on vineyard management.

He got involved in Jeunes Agriculteurs (JA), the French young farmers’ organisation, as secretary general and then president of JA Hérault, and treasurer of JA Languedoc Roussillon.

In 2018, he joined the national Board of JA, in charge of European and international issues, the food chain and quality labels.