Young farmers are dedicated to playing their part in facing up to the climate change challenge – but measures need to be put in place to assure their future, according to European young farmers’ association CEJA.

CEJA delegates approved the organisation’s position paper on climate change during a working group and young farmer symposium at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands last Friday, December 13.

Commenting on this, CEJA president Jannes Maes said: “Climate change is a challenge we all face together and young farmers are dedicated to playing their part.

To ensure a constructive and proactive debate, we need all stakeholders and policymakers to consider our socio-economic boundaries and obstacles.

“If we are to achieve our full potential and tackle the challenges associated with adapting to and mitigating climate change, there must be measures in place to protect our future,” he added.

The document states that farmers are on the front line when it comes to climate change and their role is threefold: to be innovative and find ways to adapt to the changing climate; to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from production; and to contribute to the agricultural sector’s capacity to sequester carbon while producing safe and healthy food for a growing population.

Young farmers realise that climate action should be carried out while ensuring quality of life and food security, a competitive European agricultural sector, and the protection of biodiversity and water resources, among other elements, CEJA notes.

To achieve this, a systems approach that addresses the obstacles young farmers face will be crucial. Climate change requires ambitious, worldwide action, in which everybody has a role to play and nobody is left behind, the organisation added.

CEJA’s position paper enables young farmers to participate in a debate that is fundamental to ensuring generational renewal and, ultimately, the survival of the sector.