European agricultural ministers have been told ensuring an adequate income for young farmers is crucial to the future of rural areas. Jannes Maes, president of the European young farmers association CEJA, made the appeal at an informal meeting of agricultural ministers in Austria, where Minister Michael Creed was in attendance.
CEJA believes a stable and competitive income for young farmers is at the heart of ensuring vitality in rural areas. To that end they are calling on the EU to ring-fence 2% of Pillar I funds for young farmers in the next CAP.
Maes said: “If young people feel that they cannot make an adequate living as farmers, they will not remain in the sector. The youth in rural areas need to have opportunities if they are to stay in the countryside and work and live there.”
He said if those opportunities were not provided then the vitality of rural areas would suffer and depopulation would be accelerated.
In addition to the ring-fencing of funds, CEJA is also seeking a stronger definition of an active farmer to ensure payments are redistributed to “those who truly need it”.