The newly elected MEPs are being urged to support young farmers to provide sensible and workable agricultural legislation throughout Europe amid fears MPs may back down on Pillar 2.
The National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs (NFYFC), the largest rural youth organisation in the UK, attended the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) meeting in Brussels in May where concerns were raised that some member states may sacrifice measures in Pillar 2, such as start up grants for young farmers, believing that Pillar 1 offers enough support.
Charlotte Johnston, NFYFC’s CEJA representative and member of Kenilworth YFC, attended the meeting in Brussels and said: “NFYFC is concerned that MPS may consider that Pillar 1 includes enough support for young farmers. Mandatory proposals under Pillar 1 will, in reality, only support a minority of young farmers. Major issues including access to land, access to credit and high establishment costs are huge barriers facing young producers, which this mandatory measure does not address.
“It is vital for the future of UK agriculture that we see measures for young farmers under the Rural Development Programme. Some member states such as France have put as much as 10% of RDPE funding into young farmers, historically in the UK it has been less than 1%. Now is the time to change this and motivate and support the next generation.”
NFYFC wants to see the implementation of capital grants, training and investment to provide young farmers with the essential business skills needed to run profitable farming businesses.
NFYFC’s attendance at these meetings is invaluable as other countries’ views could have a major impact on young farmers in England and Wales. Membership of CEJA would not be possible without funding from sponsors Mole Valley Farmers and HOPS Labour Solutions.
Charlotte added: “I feel strongly that NFYFC is in a much stronger position as a CEJA member to learn about European policies and be able to negotiate with our Government. For the first time in a long time, NFYFC members are being represented at a political level in Europe through our input to CEJA.”