TransatlanticTrade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the implementation of CAP andfamily farming were just some of the topics discussed at the European Councilof 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 anddiscuss issues affecting Young Farmers across the UK and Europe.
At a recent Working Group trip to Beauvais, France, Young Farmers learnt of theapproach that the European Union and the United States are taking towards afree trade partnership. The TTIP agreement could lead to farmers inEurope competing against practices that are commonplace in America. Theseinclude the use of genetically modified ingredients and growth hormones.
With support from NFYFC, CEJA has raised concerns over TTIP and has called forthe EU and US to be more open and transparent in their negotiations. CharlotteJohnston, from Warwickshire FYFC (pictured above), attended the event, duringwhich, she tweeted: Greater transparency needed in EU and US TTIP negotiationsto include producers earlier on in discussions.
Young Farmers also learnt, at the Copa Cogeca Conference in early October, thatfarmers 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), UKfarmers are being denied potentially-vital funding.
Ed Ford, chairman of Essex Young Farmers, attended the event in Brussels. Hesaid: 26,000 Young Farmers have been assisted with funding in France and only19 have been assisted in the UK. This is because none of the UK Administrationshave implemented the Capital Grant Funding for Young Farmers.
It is important that NFYFC and all of its members make clear to the Governmentthat Young Farmers in other nations have access to up to 70,000 Euros of grantfunding per year and yet Young Farmers in England and Wales do not.
On a more positive note, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has expressed itscommitment to Young Farmers. The bank approved CEJAs request to guaranteeagricultural loans to farmers under 40, allowing Young Farmers to have accessto cheaper rates of interest.
Meanwhile, at the International Summit of Young Farmers, NFYFC learnt thatfamily farmers were the best people to achieve sustainability withinagriculture. Farmers from 50 countries attended the event in Bordeaux andsigned a manifesto pledging to implement proposals making family farming asolution for the future.