Representing environmentally-friendly farmers at the Commission’s ‘Farmers of the Future’ workshop

What will agriculture look like in 2050? How can we ensure that enough food is produced, while ensuring that environment and climate are not harmed by it? Important questions like these are getting asked more and more and long have found its way on high-level political agendas. What might be easily overlooked however, is the question about the farmers themselves: What will their role be? What will their profile look like? What difficulties could they meet and what would be their needs to successfully face them?

An almost finished study by the Joint Research Center and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) seeks to address exactly that. Using a participatory approach hey developed twelve different farmer profiles for the year 2040. These profiles range from adaptive to corporate, intensive, cell, regenerative, and so on. Positively noted was the fact that organic and agroecological principles often was mentioned as their applied “environmental approach”.

For the last workshop during the study, IFOAM Organics Europe was invited 1 and 2 September as one of a few stakeholders to slip into the shoes of these imagined farmers, identify their needs and possible collaborations, and think about possible policy approaches to support them. We pointed out the need to adapt and better tailor the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to farmers’ needs, as currently there is a significant disconnect, especially when it comes to environmentally friendly farmers. These can mainly be found in the younger age group, but currently only ~6% of EU farmers are under 35 years old. IFOAM Organics Europe further stressed that need to increase their support. This includes ensuring easier access to land, which is also indirectly hampered by the CAP.

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