The challenge of attracting young farmers to the field

Cooperatives for Sustainable Development. This is the slogan chosen this year to celebrate Cooperative Day and to encourage young farmers to integrate into agriculture. The term sustainability is on everyone’s lips. But there is an urgent need to put it into practice. Almeria’s agricultural cooperatives can boast years of progress in this area.

The new generation of farmers

As well as being an example of sustainability, cooperatives are vital in helping farmers to have a good position in the market and are profitable. But there is still work to be done. In particular, generational change and the incorporation of young farmers is a challenge of great concern to the sector. In fact, the European Union has given it priority in the new CAP, until 2027.

The challenge of attracting young farmers contributes to the rejuvenation of the agricultural labour force by promoting employment in rural areas and contributing to the improvement of their size and competitiveness.

Figures show that new farmers offer more professional and entrepreneurial skills than their predecessors. On this point, Business Schools such as ISAM, the only one in Spain specialised in the agricultural world, have a lot to contribute.

Farmers currently entering farming do so mainly because they have inherited the farm, “we have almost no outsiders entering farming, which requires us to be innovative in the way we attract young people to the countryside,” says Gabriel Trenzado, General Manager of Agri-food Cooperatives of Spain.

Farming as a stable job for young farmers

They consider farming as a long-term stable job (87%) and express a very high level of satisfaction for having decided to become farmers (8.48 out of 10). They would like their descendants to become farmers as well (69%). In fact, family tradition is what most motivated them to go into farming (66%). Almost 4 out of 10 young people entering the agricultural sector have a university degree and 65% have at least a baccalaureate or higher vocational training. This figure drops to 48.7% when we talk about young Spaniards in general, according to the latest OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report.

Two men shaking hands in a field

In Spain there are around 27,000 farm holders under 35 years of age, representing only 3% of the total. Meanwhile, there are more than 355,000 farm owners over 64 years of age, 40% of the total. In the current decade, 6 out of 10 farmers will reach retirement age. A minimum of 200,000 new entrants will be needed for a sustainable generational changeover and this will only be possible through the participation of young farmers.

Organisations, academics, entrepreneurs and the Administration all agree on the need to attract young professionals who are part of the cooperative project and who are committed to sharing their talent in exchange for an attractive and sustainable way of life in our environment. If you want to be part of the change and join the new young farmers, take advantage of our Master in International Agribusiness Management Online.

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