TRADE AND MARKET I NG Young Farmers programme turns out to be a golden opportunity T he Young Farmers programme started with a series of short lectures, followed by a tour of the showground with visits to a few exhibiters. As a special guest at the youth meeting, Europolitician Annie Schreijer-Pierik started things off. She mainly focused on political issues related to taking over the business. ‘All the debates in Brussels are about the opportunities young farmers should have to continue their parents’ business. There’s no one who doesn’t agree with that. And when I look at the recent discussion in the Netherlands, I see something completely different here. We’re dealing with severe drought and its consequences, a disaster for some farmers. Other countries are already seriously tackling this issue. They give money and their farmers can carry on. And what does the Netherlands do? Nothing has happened here so far. We’re talking about a top country when it comes to products such as potatoes. I wonder whether our heads of government are aware that progress depends on family farms and their successors? Prime Minister Rutte was in Brussels recently and what did he say to the European Parliament? ”We are proud of our agriculture, but we need a different approach to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), including a 15% cut in the budget.” But that’s not the approach that other countries have, is the opinion of Annie Schreijer-Pierik. ‘The European Parliament is convinced that the farmer must be able to be a farmer. And who is at the forefront in this? Angela Merkel. In Europe, Germany is the boss, together with France, also when it comes to agriculture. I’m happy to join them so that you can remain farmers,’ she promised the young potato growers. A success that the MEPs have so far been able to achieve for Dutch young farmers is the ‘Young Farmers Scheme’, as SchreijerPierik describes it, officially a Pop3subsidy for young farmers. The scheme means that young farmers up to age 41 are eligible for payment entitlements from the National reserve. SchreijerHerkingen, took the stage after the political plea for young people by the MEP. They briefly discussed the financial worries surrounding taking over the business and everything else that’s involved. The most important message to the young listeners was, know what your cash flows are. ‘As a bank, we provide money and this should be matched by securities. So when I ask you, what we look at as a bank, what do you think the answer is? Right, cash flow’, Martens repeats the answer from his attentive Audience. The bank is therefore primarily concerned with professional skills and entrepreneurship, both equally important, and they go hand in hand as far as ‘Crowdfunding is a form of financing that we, at the bank, have known for a long time and which was actually invented by us as farmers ourselves.’ Pierik received a warm applause after her speech, there were no questions. Know what your cash flows are Harold Martens, Arable Farming Sector Manager at Rabobank Nederland and Joar van der Velde, Manager for Large Businesses at Rabobank Het Haringvliet and also a young farmer in the village of The 100 young farmers listen with interest to the plea made by European Parliamentarian Annie Schreijer-Pierik. She wonders among other things, ‘whether the heads of government are aware that progress depends on family farms and their successors?’ the bank manager is concerned. ‘The cash flow determines everything’, according to Martens,’ you have to be able to prove that there will be more coming in to the company than going out. Only when you can prove that can financing be obtained.’ His colleague Joar van der Velde then discussed how Rabobank sees its future role in the story of business acquisition and financing. He still sees the bank of the future as a special crowdfunder. ‘Crowdfunding is a form of financing that we, at the bank, have known for a long time and which was actually invented by us as farmers ourselves. After all, family loans often come into play when handing on a business. There are often gifts as well, through a tax benefit scheme and capital is often made available to the successors as attractively as possible in order to enable them to take over and earn a living. However, more and more capital has been needed in recent years, according to Van der Velde, which doesn’t make it any easier for successors, their parents and any family members involved. According to Van der Velde, good communication is the most important thing 14 Potato World 2018 • number 4 Pagina 13

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