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Policy for establishing new farmers and transferring farms

COUR DES COMPTES

There were more than 2.5 million farmers in France in 1955, but today there are only 496,000 left, according to the 2020 Agricultural Census. As a corollary to this trend, the number of farms in mainland France is falling, to around 389,000 in 2020 – almost 800,000 fewer than in 1980. Every year since 2015, an average of 20,000 farm managers have gone out of business, while 14,000 have set up a new one. This trend is the subject of increased attention, given that 43% of farmers are now aged over 55 and are therefore likely to retire within the next 10 years. The year 2023 marks a turning point in the policy for establishing new farmers and transferring farms: the 2023-2027 programme of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) delegates the management of start-up and investment aid to the regions; the drafting of the pact and the law on the future of agriculture announced by the President of the Republic in September 2022 is now the subject of extensive consultation. Both in the European Union and in France, there is a shared recognition that generational succession in agriculture is not just a demographic issue, but also a question of moving towards sustainable and resilient farming models and practices on well-developed land. The report commissioned by the Senate and published today by the Court of Accounts examines start-ups and transfers policy in the light of these issues.

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