‘Generational farm renewal a priority for CAP 2020’

Macra na Feirme has welcomed early indications from the European Commission that generational renewal will be one of the priorities of CAP post 2020.

With discussions on CAP 2020 now underway in Brussels, the topic of generational renewal focuses on the succession or transfer of farms from one generation to another.

Macra recognises that the topic of generational renewal will be a challenge, according to National President Sean Finan.

Finan was speaking at the first meeting of the newly constituted CAP Civil Dialogue group in Brussels just before Christmas.

We welcome that promoting generational renewal has been identified as a challenge and will be a key EU Commission priority for the new CAP post 2020 and part of the upcoming EU Commission consultation.

“While CAP has to be cognisant of climate change and environment challenges, biodiversity, economic and food security challenges, CAP payments have to be directed towards productive agriculture which is the life blood of rural communities.

“Farmers are the real custodians of the countryside and are delivering public goods in the protection of the environment and maintenance of the countryside.

“Promoting land mobility and the establishment of young farmers in the industry while identifying mechanisms which allow older farmers to retire and exit the industry needs to be the top priority in CAP post 2020,” he said.

The CAP Civil Dialogue group members received an outline of the EU Commission priorities for the upcoming EU Commission CAP consultation, which will soon commence, as well as the CAP post 2020 at the meeting.

Obstacles for potential young farmers

There is no shortage of young people who want to get into farming, but many of them face imposing obstacles, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, has said.

Speaking recently at a European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) event he said he wants to focus on those barriers which hinder young people from taking up agricultural activity, and identify better ways to remove those barriers.

Access to finance continues to be an important barrier for generational renewal in the agricultural sector.

“Young farmers who are setting up usually have little collateral at their disposal and therefore are perceived as clients with a higher risk by lending institutions,” he said.

The Commissioner also said that access to land is the most important barrier to enter into the agricultural sector, with recent research and stakeholder consultations confirming this.

The limited availability of agricultural land, together with competition for land for non-agricultural purposes, puts pressure on prices, he said.