Back to Earth, an event about returning to the land

Frederic Pigot/APAP

Terre-net Media

More than 400 people and 70 speakers from different backgrounds met on 9 and 10 November in Clermont-Ferrand for the national meetings on returning to the country and territories. The main rural actors were thus able to discuss the challenges of generational renewal in agriculture, especially in attracting young people to the areas and supporting them to ensure the success of their project.

Jean-Yves Pineau (Les Localos), Sabine Tholoniat (elected Chamber of Agriculture 63), Henri Landes (Landestini), Laurent Rieutort (geographer), Marc Baldinal (Ademe), Didier Christin (Earth and Civilization) discussed new collaborations to be established between cities and country. (© Frederic Pigot/APAP)

LOn November 9, Emmanuelle Coratti was particularly moved. Two years after launching this bet to bring together the most important players in rural areas in the same place, the chairman of the association Back to Earth opened National meetings for return to land and territories. In the introduction, she listed the issues of food sovereignty, territorial rebalancing, the place of farmers in society, the new collaborations to be established between cities and countryside, the need to reconnect with the living…

Jean-Yves Pineau (Les Localos) was responsible for moderating the plenary session and spoke about the fourth and last edition of the Welcome University organized ten years earlier by the Auvergne region. Like what, this concern is not new. But in this next world the subject takes on a new dimension.

Compulsory agricultural service

“We need relieved cities and repopulated countryside. We have no more time! ”, protested Henri Landes, co-president of the Landestini association and lecturer at Sciences Po. This French-American ex-professional tennis player, repentant of consumerism and excess, changed his life to go green in a village in the Haute-Loire, where he (re)connects with the living, on a handful of hectares. “With a lot of humility, he clarifies, because many people live there in a much more sober way and do not claim it. »

Living surrounded by farmers, I have learned a lot.

Having lived in New York and San Francisco, he is sad to see that the city is always associated with progress. “I have learned a lot more since I live surrounded by farmers, craftsmen and local elected officials. I believe that a strong change is needed,’ he continues and suggests the establishment of a compulsory agricultural service, so that everyone understands what agriculture is and to end its stigmatization. He also calls for a law that will equalize the distribution of the territory and a real decentralization policy.

Installation: the keys to success

In the process, several round tables were proposed, including one on renewal of farming generations. According to Vincent Jannot (Terre de liens), 40,000 more installations are needed per year. “The renewal of generations is a priority for all agricultural chambers”, assures Fabienne Puel, head of installations in Puy-de-Dôme. She participated in a roundtable entitled “Make your agricultural installation project a success“.

“Regardless of your project or your age, you have to think for yourself. What is your goal, what drives you? The person accompanying you must know this. It is important to exchange with the entourage, the family. A project in agriculture interferes a lot with family life. If it blocks, you need to be able to anticipate. You need to take the time to train the necessary skills, mature your project, secure yourself as much as possible to give yourself more chances of success. »

Candidates who don’t care about their income are suspect.

She emphasized a very good retention rate in agriculture. About 95% for recipients of Young Farmer Grant (DJA). “You need to take a paper, a computer to see how you shoot the project. Cogitating is a guarantee of success in achieving your goal. “For her, you need to aim for a Smic on a Smic and a half. Applicants who do not care to drawing an income are suspicious. Fabienne Puel clarified that there is a need for operational managers, but also for agricultural workers. “Agriculture offers a wide range of occupations that allow people to flourish with good working conditions. »

jerome gandon cer france under back to earth “The human dimension should not be neglected in an installation project”, warned Jérôme Gandon of CER France. (© Frederic Pigot/APAP)

The economic dimension

Simon Bestel (Fermes en vie) sees no shortage of candidates. “They are not all at the right time for the installation. They have great ambitions, great desires, but do not always master the financial issues. The desire for adventure is not enough. You have to find the right person to accompany without it being 100% assisted . The model where you settle down on a farm and don’t change anything for 40 years is over.”

Relativize the term “business plan”.

Bruno Macias (Néo-Agri) confirms that there are not enough serious project managers. “Too many of them come with a bucolic idea of ​​the job. He advises them to go to farms to experiment and develop their skills, to participate in experience-sharing networks and to prepare their business plan well. CER France employee, Jérôme Gandon prefers to relativize the concept of business plan. “It’s only income and expenses. At the installation stage, you have to keep it simple, check that the operation is viable. You have to find the solution that suits you. »

“And let the counselor stay in his place as counselor,” he continues. He must position himself by accompanying, not as a bearer of solutions. Don’t come looking for recipes, your project is not your neighbor’s. It is not necessarily a Gaec that suits you. At CER France, we are very strong in asset management, we are less in management. We don’t have a psychologist. The human aspect is our Achilles heel. However, it is not easy to work with your father or your wife. »

A rural area to reinvent

For four or five years, Jérôme Gandon has noticed the emergence of collective projects outside the framework of the family. Each project leader brings their own skills and interests, which can lead to surprising combinations that reinvent rural areas. This is where it fails, believes a participant based on the Sancy massif in an eco-site. She thus mentioned her difficulties in finding a legal framework for these hybrid initiatives that combine tourism, agriculture, craft and trade. “Society changes faster than legislation,” acknowledged Jérôme Gandon.

A legal framework, sometimes hard to find.

“Let’s trust the territories to invent new models”, concluded Julien Kieffer (Renata) at the end of another round table, in which other actors such as Eloi or La Ceinture verte participated. President of FNSEA in Puy-de-Dôme, Sabine Tholoniat, recalled that agriculture has always known how to reinvent itself. “There is room for all models. »

Presenting rural areas as a vital rear base, however, geographer Laurent Rieutort pointed to the “defensive routines” that make people reluctant to change too much. However, he advocates a co-evolutionary and multi-actor transition. For Jean-Yves Pineau, it is already a great success that it has been possible to gather these different interlocutors over two days.

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