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(18 November 2019) - Young farmers accessing land via non-conventional contracts are eligible for EU subsidies. But in practice, burdensome administrative constraints often outweigh any financial advantage, meaning that landowners are cashing in while young farmers are missing out.

Agriculture
© Adrian Cable

Most of Europe’s agricultural land is in the hands of greying farmers: more than half of farmland is managed by farmers over the age of 55, and nearly a third by farmers over 65. In contrast, only 6% of the total land area is managed by farmers under 35.

A generational transfer is therefore required to enable new farmers to enter the profession, thus ensuring the future of Europe’s farming sector. This is recognised by the European Parliament, which stated in their 2018 report on the CAP reform that “in order to achieve sustainable agriculture, young farmers must be able to invest and acquire agricultural land.”

However, instead of being a catalyst for new entrants into farming, the structure of the direct payment subsidies combined with inadequate support measures often concur to hamper the entry of prospective farmers. (EurActiv)

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