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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Policy directions to support generational renewal in European farming systems

Coopmans, Isabeau; Dessein, Joost; Accatino, Francesco; Antonioli, Federico; Gavrilescu, Camelia; Gradziuk, Piotr; Manevska Tasevska, Gordana; Meuwissen, Miranda; Peneva, Mariya; Soriano, Barbara; Urquhart, Julie; Wauters, Erwin


Sufficient generational renewal is an important contributor to resilient farming systems but across the EU there is widespread concern over the so‐called ‘young farmer problem’. This article recommends several policy areas to support generational renewal. The first need is to clearly define the exact generational renewal challenge, since available data provide no clear‐cut evidence of an existing young farmer problem that is uniform across the EU. Second, while current policies seem effective in supporting the farm transfer process and providing aid during the early career phase of farmers, they lack targeting of the stage preceding farm take‐over, during which possible entrants develop a successor identity. Increasing the attractiveness of farming as both an occupational and a lifestyle choice appears to be important in stimulating entry into farming. Third, policymakers should give high priority to facilitating access to land and labour, and to accommodating the capital‐intensive nature of farming. Fourth, a mix of policies at different levels and domains that coherently contribute to the achievement of predefined goals regarding generational renewal is needed. Fifth, support for farm‐specific advice and personal coaching holds underexploited potential for addressing the specificity of on‐farm challenges regarding generational renewal.

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2020, Volume: 19, number: 2, pages: 30-36

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