How do young farmers look to the new CAP funding period - and beyond to their future? - A case study along the implementation of agroforestry
Under the guiding question "How do young farmers see their future?", the project investigates which visions guide young farmers in the face of the multiple crises of our time and a dramatic worsening of the situation for many farms, and whether and to what extent the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with its increased focus on overall solutions, is perceived as a support for a sustainable transformation of the agri-food system.
A particular focus will be on agroforestry systems, which have been added to the CAP funding landscape as eco-schemes (or promoted as agri-environmental measures, depending on the state) from the 2023-2027 period. Agroforestry systems are associated with multidimensional potentials for climate change adaptation, renewable energy use, food security, and revitalization of agricultural landscapes. At the same time, they promise an increase and diversification of agricultural production and more resilience of farms on an ecological, economic and social level. This is not just about integrating trees and/or shrubs in fields, meadows, or pastures, but involves associated far-reaching challenges such as intergenerational, longer-term decision-making, and a rethinking of farm planning and working practices.
Therefore, another research question is whether young farmers perceive the introduction and maintenance of agroforestry systems as an interesting strategy to secure their farms and to contribute in overcoming the challenges. The aim is to formulate appropriate structural (or financial) policy support, such as the CAP, to support young farmers' visions and resilience-building initiatives, and to consider agroforestry systems as an option.
Methods from participatory social research will be applied. The broad application of a questionnaire and individual interviews on young farmers* personal visions and their perceived challenges will be followed by different teaching formats designed to provide insights into agroforestry systems. These include farm visits as well as workshops in order to get into conversation with each other and to be able to realistically capture the viewpoints and perspectives of the young farmers.
The project is funded by the Edmund Rehwinkel Foundation of Rentenbank.
Project duration: May 2023 - January 2024