CEJA celebrates 60 years representing young farmers

European young farmer organisation CEJA celebrated its 60th anniversary in the historic Belgian town of Ieper (Ypres) earlier this month.

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.

These included: innovation; environmental sustainability; the empowerment of women in agriculture; and communication.

This showcase 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.

CEJA president Jannes Maes commented on the occasion, saying:

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,” he said.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said: “It is my honour to be here with you in Ypres 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,” he said.

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 highlighted the importance of young farmers to the future of EU agriculture, according to CEJA.

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.