Correspondent's Choice

This story about a French farmer school was published by EurActiv on 23rd September 2010.

A regional body in northern France has developed a scheme for those interested in creating a farming business. But despite its popularity, its creators face persistent proble A classroom at Rethel Agricultural College in the French Ardennes for the first time saw a group of young adults take a three-day compulsory step on their career path to set up their own agricultural business.

The eight young future farmers, aged 21 to 38, went back to school for 21 hours of training. During this period, they listened to the testimonials of other farmers and discussed the viability of their projects with knowledgeable professionals.

The training also aimed to make them aware of the impact of various decisions that may affect their enterprises, such as local planning rulings.

“Once you have a project, don’t hesitate to phone us. Special aid is available, and we’ll advise in any way we can,” explains Bénédicte Le Clézio, an official at the Ardennes Chamber of Agriculture.

Le Clézio often participates in these training schemes, arguing that continuing dialogue between France’s one million farmers and society is vitally important.

Three days of these future farmers’ training are dedicated to raising awareness of the problems they are likely to face, such as the probable reduction of direct Common Agricultural Policy subsidies from the EU, the volatility of produce prices or the increasing clout of emerging countries such as China.

“What are your main motives for going to work on the land?” asks Chamber advisor Pascal Turquier. A shared passion for becoming a farmer and desire to be their own boss, answer in accessing EU funds. EurActiv France reports.

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