In the father’s footsteps
Agriculture in Germany – modern machinery, valuable know-how, online-trade platforms and fresh air. One may get the impression the farmer gets up in the morning with a smile on his face. If there weren’t the little word “may”. The smiles of many freeze when the topic of succession comes up.
If one completely trusts the latest German agricultural survey, which is carried out every ten years, the situation concerning up-and-coming farmers looks bleak. Along with asking about livestock, ownership and tenantry, the question about who will continue to run the farm is being asked as well. Almost 57% of single enterprises, managed by owners 45 years or older, have settled the succession issue. The flipside of the coin is that 43% have found no solution. Upon first glance, this development can be understood: Many successors turn their backs because of the low and fluctuating income, long work hours, few cultural offers and prejudices towards farmers. Very often giving up an agricultural operation is the only option in light of the impossibility of finding ideal solutions to the issue in our economic system.
Therefore, it is not surprising that many young farmers take the matters of improving their image and quality of lifestyle into their own hands. Agricultural beauty pageants and competitions like the World Scythe Cup in Salbitz (Saxony) are just a few examples. Others model half-nude in sexy farmer’s calendars. This is evidence enough that farming is more just long and hard labour.
It isn’t always easy to convince one’s successors to take on the farm. But once it has been realised that farming takes place in an own small world, the beauty of it will prevail.
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