French boy farmers ask for support for taking over an agricultural company

The organization of French Young Farmers (JA) has asked President Macron and Agriculture Minister Denormandie for more financial support for the takeover of agricultural companies.

Following the agricultural census for 2020, young people point to the continuing exodus from rural areas, as in many other EU countries.According to the French survey, 58% of livestock and agricultural managers is over 50 years old. Most of them will have reached retirement age in the next 5 – 7 years.

Given the aging population, the annual generational change of some 20,000 French rural farmers must be supported with proactive policies, JA warned. They are thinking of a kind of 'preferential right' when purchasing agricultural land. According to the association, more than 20,000 French farmers stop working every year, but in many cases the company is taken over by another agricultural company, so that young people 'cannot intervene'.

Recent figures from Eurostat show that in the EU, only 11% of all farms are run by farmers under the age of 40, while 65% of the farms are run by farmers over the age of 55. 

Just last week, French minister Denormandie refrained from 'forcing' farmers to retire at the age of 67. After that age they would only be entitled to a French pension. If they were to continue working, they would no longer be able to claim EU-CAP funds. But the French NSP submitted to Brussels shows that Normandie leaves the choice to the older farmer: either a pension or a EU-CAP subsidy.

The French agricultural census also shows that the number of farms continues to fall sharply. Between 2010 and 2020, approximately 100,000 farms have disappeared. The number of livestock farms has decreased by 31% (−64,000) since 2010. While the number of people with permanent jobs on a farm has decreased by 12% in 10 years (from 759,000 to 583,000 permanent full-time jobs), the proportion of temporary workers is increasing.

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