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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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How the EU can take measures to combat rising land prices for emerging young farmers  

Promoting Intergenerational sustainability in ag: How the EU can take measures to  combat  rising  land  prices for emerging young farmers  

Article by Tadgh Quill-Manley, a council member of the Munster Agricultural Society and a board member of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust.

The   agricultural   landscape   across  the European  Union   is  at a  crossroads  where tradition meets modernity,  the aspirations of a new generation of farmers  and  the  reality  of  rising  land prices.

In this  complex   web,  it  is  imperative to  consider  measures  not only  to  comply   with  EU  rules  and  principles,  but also  to   provide  a  level  playing field for  budding  young farmers.

In this article, I examine the rationale  for   introducing   EU-compliant  measures to combat high  farmland   prices   and   promote   sustainable   and   dynamic  agricultural  sector   growth.

It is an imperative that we address a pressing concern that strikes at the heart of Ireland’s agricultural legacy and its future: the rising tide of land prices.

As we gather here to discuss the challenges facing our young farmers, we cannot overlook the profound hindrance that escalating land costs pose to their aspirations and the sustainability of our agricultural sector.

Our farms have been the cradle of tradition, innovation, and sustenance for generations.

Yet, as the cost of land continues its relentless ascent, the dreams of young farmers are being suffocated beneath an insurmountable burden.

The promise of a nurturing agricultural journey, where they can steward the land with dedication and pride, is being replaced by the harsh reality of financial strain and uncertainty.


Rising land prices hinder our young farmers in multiple ways.

They create formidable barriers to entry, making it increasingly arduous for new talent to join our ranks.

The spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that these young minds bring to our fields is dampened by the weight of unattainable price tags.

The cost of acquiring land not only strains personal finances but also curtails investment in modern technologies, sustainable practices, and quality infrastructure that are vital for the sector’s progress.

In our pursuit of a thriving agricultural future, it is essential to recognize that the vibrancy of any industry is intrinsically linked to the vitality of its youth.

Young farmers are the torchbearers of innovation, the custodians of traditional wisdom, and the architects of a resilient future.

However, the soaring cost of land threatens to extinguish this torch before it can fully illuminate our horizons.

It is, therefore, important that we explore innovative policies, collaborate with stakeholders, and seek pragmatic solutions that restore the promise of agriculture to our aspiring young farmers.

By addressing the challenge of rising land prices, we pave the way for a future where our farms remain vibrant, our traditions endure, and our land is cultivated by hands that carry the torch of progress.

EU  rules and  principles:  a guide  

Central to this  discussion  are the pillars of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a testament to the EU’s  commitment  to promoting rural development, agricultural sustainability  and  equal opportunity.

Directive 2014/17/EU  emphasizes  the need to support young farmers through  credit   and  access to  land.

Similarly,  the  rural   development   program   set   out   in  Regulation  1305/2013   reflects  the  idea  of  ​​fostering  generational  change  in agriculture.

Responding   to   soaring   farmland   prices:  A  multifaceted   approach

  1. Land Banking and Leasing  Scheme:  

The   introduction   of   an   EU   compliant  land banking and leasing  scheme   will   enable  aspiring young farmers  to   enter   agriculture.

Modeled after  the  successful  practices   of  EU  Member   States,  these  schemes  allow  existing  farmers to lease or temporarily transfer  land to newcomers,  facilitating   guidance  and a  smooth  generational  transition.

  1. Tax  incentives  for land transfers: 

In   line  with the spirit of Directive 2014/17/EU,  the   Government   has   introduced  tax incentives  to  encourage older farmers to transfer their  land  to younger successors.  can.

These incentives  have  the  potential   to   reduce   the   economic  burden on both  sides,   facilitate  intergenerational land  transfers,  and  strengthen   farming   communities.

  1.   Community   Agricultural  Ventures:

Encouraging  community   agricultural  ventures, where  a   few  young farmers  share  their resources and expertise, can mitigate the capital-intensive nature of  land   acquisition.

Such  efforts  would  be   consistent  with the EU’s emphasis on cooperation and sustainable land use.

  1. Land  parcels  and  price   stability:  

EU-compatible measures could  include  strategic land  parcels  to  discourage   price-inflating   speculation.

In   addition,   price   stabilization  mechanisms  in   line  with CAP  targets  could help  limit  extreme  volatility  and create a more predictable market for  budding  young farmers.

  1.  Education  and  training   programs:

Directive 2006/44/EC  emphasizes  the importance of  promoting  a  qualified   workforce   in   agriculture.   Implementing  comprehensive  education  and training programs specifically  for young farmers can  improve  their  capacity  to navigate the complexities of land acquisition,  management  and sustainable practices.

Within  the  larger   framework  of EU agriculture, the story of  emerging  young farmers represents a chapter of hope and  resilience,   adopting  EU-compatible measures to combat high  land  prices.

We  uphold the principles of  equity,   sustainability  and generational  continuity central   to  the Common Agricultural Policy yowards  a  fairer   and  more  vibrant agricultural  future.

We  desire to  enable all aspiring young farmers   to   find  fertile  soil  to sow their dreams and contribute to the  thriving  legacy of European agriculture.

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