Young farmers welcomed as delegates to Brussels

A delegation from Macra na Feirme was hosted by the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, at the European People’s Party’s (EPP’s) Young Farmers’ Congress in Brussels yesterday (Thursday, October 18).

The event, which is in its fifth year, gathered young farmers from across member states to discuss agricultural production in the EU, exchanging views on both common practices and those that differ.

McGuinness said the meeting of young farmers is “timely” given the upcoming reforms of the CAP.

“It’s very important for the young farmers to hear the vision of the parliament’s draftsperson on CAP reform, Esther Herranz Garcia. Of particular interest was her views on generational renewal.”

Members of the delegation included:
  • 2018 FBD Young Farmer of the Year, Daniel Hawthorne, Co. Monaghan;
  • Young sheep farmer winner, Luna Orofiamma, Co. Cavan;
  • Beef farmer, Michael Kenny, Co. Offaly;
  • Beef farmer, Eamon Cassels, Co. Meath;
  • Beef farmer, Karen Elliffe, Co. Westmeath.

McGuinness explained that the young farmers had the opportunity to discuss their role in the debate on the future of Europe, which is particularly relevant for Europe’s rural regions.

The delegation met with MEPs on the Agriculture Committee, and highlighted how the CAP assists farmers of all ages in Ireland.

Future challenges

McGuinness noted that Brexit will see a member state leave the EU, which may have implications for the food supply chain to the UK and from the EU to the UK.

“High standards in farming, environment and food safety are central to EU policy. And it is to be hoped that the UK will stick to these leading standards post-Brexit in order for trade flows to continue.

“I also hope that young EU farmers will maintain strong links with their UK counterparts – farmers share the same concerns and this will remain the case when the UK leaves,” she said.

The MEP stressed the significance of having young farmers from across Europe in the European Parliament. She said this event encompasses what the European project is all about – sharing and learning from each other.