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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.