Italy Launches 'Land Generation' Initiative to Foster Generational Change in Farming

The new Ismea program will provide loans for farmland acquisition and new farming companies. To induce a generational change in Italian farming, only farmers under 41 are eligible for the program.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 11, 2023 18:57 UTC

A new ini­tia­tive aimed at sup­port­ing young farm­ers in Italy and fos­ter­ing gen­er­a­tional change has been launched by the Italian Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea).

The Land Generation” ini­tia­tive will fund state land loans for expe­ri­enced farm­ers under 41. The loans will help farm­ers pur­chase land worth €1,5 mil­lion or less.

To be approved, farm­ers must show that the loans will either help expand their cur­rent activ­i­ties or fund new farm­ing com­pa­nies.

On top of that, the ini­tia­tive pro­vides a €70,000 bonus to newly formed farm­ing com­pa­nies. Farmers will be allowed to use the bonus to reduce the amount of their monthly loan pay­ments. In the pro­gram, the loan dura­tion can­not exceed 30 years.

The ini­tia­tive also tar­gets inex­pe­ri­enced farm­ers under 35. These loans will enable agro­nomic degrees and for­mal reg­is­tra­tion as farm­ers. It is hoped that the loans will allow younger gen­er­a­tions to start new projects and buy needed farm­land. For inex­pe­ri­enced farm­ers, Ismea sup­port will not exceed €500,000.

See Also:Business Italy Prepares to Sell 800 Farms to Young Farmers

Ismea has spec­i­fied that the Land Generation” ini­tia­tive will cost €60 mil­lion, with an addi­tional €40 mil­lion needed to cover the €70,000 bonuses.

In a note, Ismea spec­i­fied that farm­ing com­pa­nies would be con­sid­ered young when their legal admin­is­tra­tor is a reg­is­tered farmer under 41. To be eli­gi­ble for funds, the company’s major­ity own­ers must have been under 41 for at least two years before their appli­ca­tion.

The new Ismea pro­gram comes on the heels of sev­eral ini­tia­tives enacted by the Italian gov­ern­ment to boost a gen­er­a­tional change in agri­cul­ture.

Such change is needed to accel­er­ate inno­va­tion in the farm­ing sec­tor and to fur­ther the adop­tion of new meth­ods and strate­gies that can bet­ter cope with the cli­mate cri­sis.

According to Ismea, the real­ity of Italian farms has been chang­ing in recent years as small farms faced the grow­ing pres­sure of new mar­ket dynam­ics. Many fam­ily-owned busi­nesses have been incor­po­rated into larger com­pa­nies.

A recent report by the pub­lic agency showed that between 2010 and 2020, the num­ber of Italian farms dropped from 1.6 to 1.1 mil­lion. This trend started four decades ago but has accel­er­ated in the last decade.

Olive com­pa­nies’ num­bers have also dropped. The olive farm­ing sec­tor has seen a reduc­tion of 11.5 per­cent in the last decade, with cur­rently just under one mil­lion hectares farmed.

A sin­gle indi­vid­ual man­ages ninety-seven per­cent of olive farms, and farm­ers under 40 direct only five per­cent of mod­ern olive oil com­pa­nies.

Ismea spec­i­fied that new ini­tia­tives, such as Land Generation,” are allowed by cur­rent European reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing state sub­si­dies for local com­pa­nies.

Young farm­ers inter­ested in the new ini­tia­tive must sub­mit their appli­ca­tions by June 30th, 2023.


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