The age profile of farmers is rising across the globe. Just 6 percent of farmers in the EU are under 35; the average age of the American farmer is 56; in Australia 52 percent of farmers are aged 55 or older; the UN estimates that the average age of farm owners in Africa is 60 and older.
The issue was highlighted earlier this year by Prince Charles at an EU Conference on the future of family farming when he stated that the average age of a British farmer reached 58 in 2013.
‘One national research project suggested that the UK alone needs to find another 60,000 new farmers in the next decade – a target not likely to be met, given that the number of family-run farms is also on the decline.’
It’s against this backdrop that the new CAP is moving to retain and grow the number of under-40s in farming. Apart from the Pillar 1 and 2 measures outlined opposite, other EU schemes include farm succession supports under the 2014-2020 European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EARFD). One of the key supports is business start-up aid for young farmers – worth up to €70,000 over five years.