Young farmers discuss issues affecting them in UK and Europe

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the implementation of CAP and family farming were just some of the topics discussed at the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) in recent weeks.

Thanks to sponsorship from HOPS Labour Solutions and Mole Valley Farmers, representatives from NFYFC travelled across Europe to attend CEJA events and discuss issues affecting Young Farmers across the UK and Europe.

At a recent Working Group trip to Beauvais, France, Young Farmers learnt of the approach that the European Union and the United States are taking towards a free trade partnership. The TTIP agreement could lead to farmers in Europe competing against practices that are commonplace in America. These include the use of genetically modified ingredients and growth hormones.

With support from NFYFC, CEJA has raised concerns over TTIP and has called for the EU and US to be more open and transparent in their negotiations. Charlotte Johnston, from Warwickshire FYFC (pictured above), attended the event, during which, she tweeted: “Greater transparency needed in EU and US TTIP negotiations to include producers earlier on in discussions”.

Young Farmers also learnt, at the Copa Cogeca Conference in early October, that farmers in other countries have access to grant funding from their Government, yet farmers in England and Wales do not.

Due to differing implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), UK farmers are being denied potentially-vital funding.

Ed Ford, chairman of Essex Young Farmers, attended the event in Brussels. He said: “26,000 Young Farmers have been assisted with funding in France and only 19 have been assisted in the UK. This is because none of the UK Administrations have implemented the Capital Grant Funding for Young Farmers.

“It is important that NFYFC and all of its members make clear to the Government that Young Farmers in other nations have access to up to 70,000 Euros of grant funding per year and yet Young Farmers in England and Wales do not.”

On a more positive note, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has expressed its commitment to Young Farmers. The bank approved CEJA’s request to guarantee agricultural loans to farmers under 40, allowing Young Farmers to have access to cheaper rates of interest.

Meanwhile, at the International Summit of Young Farmers, NFYFC learnt that family farmers were the best people to achieve sustainability within agriculture. Farmers from 50 countries attended the event in Bordeaux and signed a manifesto pledging to implement proposals making family farming a solution for the future.

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