Last week the Belgian Newbie team filmed the last of their 10 Newbie videos. In a short while it will be made available on our YouTube channel.
Topic of this last video is the small farm of new farmer Niels, De Veldhoeve. Niels started his farming career as a student worker on a pig farm and later worked for a supplier company. He did not grow up in a farming background so he was faced by the monumental task to buy his own farm if he ever wanted to achieve his dream: start his own farm. The Newbie project has put forward “access to land” as the largest barrier for new farmers and it was no different for Niels. He searched for years for the perfect plot but most of what was available was either too small, did not have a farm building or was simply too expensive. You can read more on access to land in our desktop research report. In 2020 Niels finally found the plot he wanted, a small plot of roughly 1 hectare with an old farm building. To allow him time to work on his farm he works morning and night shifts in an metallurgy job, leaving the middle of the day free for his pigs. Interested consumers can buy meat packages in advance.
The situation of Niels illustrates a struggle that many Newbies face: you need to work another full-time job to afford the slow startup of the farm, but if you do, you are not a full time farmer and miss out on some benefits provided by the CAP. Additionally, because of food, soil and manure legislation his farm is treated like any other large farm. As such, new farmers might have the impression that they are only treated as hobby farmers for anything related with benefits, but are considered full time farmers with anything related to legislation or taxes. Niels, as many other newbies, finds this one of the key issues to tackle if our agricultural industry wants to solve the generational renewal problem.
More on this topic in the video of Niels and future practice abstracts.
A preview of our Newbie video: