Dutch farmers seek match for their farms
According to Statistics Netherlands, some 60 percent of farmers aged over 55 in the Netherlands don’t have anybody to leave their land to when they retire. They say 15,000 farms could disappear over the next decade, with more than eight out of 10 sheep farmers, and with pig and cow farmers only doing slightly better.
Now there’s a service called ‘Farmer Seeks Farmer’ that matches up people looking for a farm with those who will soon want to get rid of theirs. Backed by the Young Farmers’ Association, pig farmer Sander Thus has help set up the online scheme putting farmers close to retirement age in contact with young wannabe farmers.
Since the scheme was launched in 2011, several dozen farms have moved outside of the original family owners to be taken over by a new generation of farmers. And Thus hopes the numbers will grow, with 135 people searching for land registered on the site, and some 35 existing farmers looking for new blood to farm their lands. “Today, most of the people looking to take over a farm are self-employed between 20 and 40 who don’t come from the farming world, but want to roll their sleeves up,” he explains.