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What can digital communications do for generational renewal in farming?

Project description

Making farming cool for youth

Young farmers can make a big contribution to promoting rural prosperity. Currently, more than a third of all farms in the EU are run by farmers who are close to their retirement age. The EU’s common agricultural policy post-2020 has identified generational renewal as one of its nine goals. As such, generational renewal of the agricultural sectors is considered a key first step to helping strengthen rural value chains and bolster rural viability and vitality. The EU-funded YOUNG FARMERS project will develop new ideas to engage more young people in agriculture. Specifically, it will design a ‘networked individualism’ model developed by the digital sociology field to understand behaviour patterns. The model is innovative and provides new perspectives to structure public debates.


A global difficulty of attracting youth into farming, and the growing pressure on institutions to respond to the demand for efficient knowledge-transfer to youth in the digital age, are two key challenges within the contemporary socio-economic research. The YOUNG FARMERS project addresses these challenges by exploring the important but poorly explored question of how the global needs of youth in farming can benefit from digital communication technologies.

There is already increasing use of digital communication tools by institutions to support generational renewal in farms such as establishing online youth forums, supporting digital farming platforms, using social media to disseminate information, and mobilize youth. However, these tools are still relatively new, thus it remains unclear as to how exactly they may contribute to generational renewal. The YOUNG FARMERS project aims to explore this digital communication transformation to develop a new thinking that guides generational renewal policies with a cross-national study in the USA and in Germany.

At the center of the digital communication concept is the “networked individualism” model, which has been developed by digital sociology field to understand behavior patterns. Project conduct a study on the “networked” nature of youths’ economic behavior with focus on youth engagement into farming as a “career option”.

The project is innovative, as it provides new perspectives to structure public debates in the area of rural youth, agricultural policies, and digital government. This project contributes (1) to the rise in new knowledge-transfer initiatives (e.g. EU young farmers’ networks, Erasmus+ apprenticeships in agriculture) that intend to offer new communication approaches to promote European young farming talents, and (2) to support the development of the human capital dimension of the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020, which has identified generational renewal as one of its nine goals.



Net EU contribution
€ 264 669,12
Theodor lieser strasse 2
06120 Halle saale

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Sachsen-Anhalt Sachsen-Anhalt Halle (Saale), Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)