Farmers of the Future

The project is conducted in close collaboration between the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI).


The Common Agricultural Policy puts farmers at the core of its actions. The 2017 Commission Communication “The Future of Food and Farming” credits farmers with guaranteeing food security for over 500 million European citizens and being the first stewards of the natural environment. It fashions the role of the policy to “bring out the very best from the Union’s farm sector and rural area (…) and to support farmers in anticipating and dealing with future relevant challenges and developments.”

There is a considerable amount of literature detailing the future challenges for agriculture and food production and consumption, especially regarding climate change and resource scarcity, technological change, infrastructural issues and food demand/dietary habits (including SCAR reports, JRC studies and research projects). However, there is less consideration of the question of who will be the farmers in the medium- and long-term future who will be dealing with those challenges. The fact that only 5.6 % of EU farmers are under 35 years old suggests that there could be much more disruption than continuity ahead in the farming profession.


The aim of the foresight study is to identify possible future professional roles of farmers in 2040 and to explore resulting potential implications for relevant EU policies.


A mix of foresight and design approaches

The study will combine different methodological approaches and is exploratory in nature. In order to achieve its goal, the study will:

  • Identify relevant drivers of change and analyse how these drivers might influence the role of farmers in the future
  • Generate insights into farmer’s views on possible future developments
  • Explore possible consequences the changing farmer roles may have for relevant EU policies

In order to accomplish the objectives a highly participatory approach will be taken involving key players and stakeholders.


The Farmers of the Future report is out! Download here.

The results of the study were presented at the Outlook conference 2020.

For more information on the outcomes, please go to the project page.

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