A New Generation of farmers is transforming the way the world is farmed and is demanding the most appropriate tractors, harvesters and equipment.
That was the message from Thierry Lhotte, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Massey Ferguson EAME at the "For a New Generation from Massey Ferguson" SIMA Press Conference this week.
“Those farmers and businesses who are not embracing change are being left behind. Those that are changing are thriving and making the most of unprecedented opportunities,” he said.
Mr Lhotte referred to a New Generation of young people who are choosing farming as a career because of its bright future. “Their youthful enthusiasm, energy and optimism is combined with a growing demand for food and fuel across the world. They are open-minded and ready to embrace the opportunities that come their way. For them change is ‘business as normal.’ Compare this to more established businesses for whom ‘business as usual’ means a steady decline.”
He said that no country across the world is immune from generational change and that in Europe it is countries in Eastern Europe that are at the forefront of change. Others such as France and Germany are catching up and that the most dramatic changes are set to take place in countries such as Portugal, Italy and the UK, which currently have the eldest farmers.
“But it is important to stress that the New Generation of change is not just about age, the key thing is attitude. Without the right attitude, no farmer, whether they are 25 years-old, 45 years-old or 65 years-old, will succeed. And the New Generation of younger farmers are reliant on and benefit from the experience and guidance of their predecessors”
A global farmgate
Mr Lhotte said that a New Generation of farmers is responding to the changing demands of consumers who want safe, reliable and affordable sources of food and energy as well high quality products that link them to farmers.
“In the past the farm stopped at the farm gate – no longer. Across the world younger farmers are taking over family farms and revolutionising the way they are operated. Countries such as Brazil and China and those in Africa are at the forefront of this change and European farmers have to respond to this challenge, particularly as most of the growing markets are outside Europe.”
A New Generation of farmers provides exciting opportunities for Massey Ferguson, a global machinery brand that continues to deliver a New Generation of straightforward innovation and dependability. Mr Lhotte highlighted the new MF 6600 Series tractors, launched at SIMA, which complete the ‘Super Six’ Range of most advanced Massey Ferguson tractors ever. “Like the other ‘600’ ranges, the MF 6600 Series has been designed to meet the needs of the New Generation of farmer who is demanding a smart, efficient, clean and reliable tractor to increase output and preserve resources such as the soil and environment.
“The New Generation of farmers are looking to adopt the next generation of machines as soon as they can and want to influence their development. This is particularly exciting for us at Massey Ferguson as we have always taken the lead in developing the appropriate solutions farmers need. That is why we continue to invest in research and development, in young people and understanding the needs of both the New Generation of farmers and the Next Generation of farmers.”
Massey Ferguson has commissioned research into the New Generation of European and world farmers. It points to a dramatic step-change taking place in global farming:
- It is estimated that at least 100,000 new entrants will be required in European agriculture every year over the coming years. A million over the next decade.
- Overall farmers under 35 years old make up less than 7% of the farming population. But this is changing fast.
- More than 12% of Polish farmers are under 35, with the proportion in France and Germany nearing 10%.
- The largest new generational change is likely to take place in Portugal, Italy and the UK where the average farmers are currently the eldest.
- The number of European farms has fallen by 20% in the past ten years, with younger farmers taking over larger farms.
- The average farm run by a younger farmer in Europe is 40% more productive than those run by the average and 125% more productive than those run by over 55 year olds.
- The average farm size run by younger farmers is 37% larger than the average and 104% larger than those run by over 55 year olds.
- Individual young farmers are 12% more productive than the average and 50% more productive than older farmers.
- More than 60% of Europeans now live in towns, so farmers need to work harder to build and maintain bonds with their customers.
- More than a third of US farmers are over 65 years old.
- The average South African farmer is 62 years old.
- Young farmers have driven the move to larger and more productive farms in Brazil as the rural population has halved over the past 30 years.
- China’s rural population has plunged by nearly 40% in the past 30 years, resulting in a New Generation of farmers using mechanisation to feed the growing and wealthier population.
“Those farmers and businesses who are not embracing change are being left behind. Those that are changing are thriving and making the most of unprecedented opportunities”