News | 19 Feb 2024

Support for the socio-economic fabric of EU farming areas

Skills and mental health support for EU farmers are topics for our Thematic Group work on the potential of CAP Strategic Plan interventions to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of rural Europe.

A green field surrounded by trees with a rainbow over it

CAP Strategic Plans (CSPs) offer many opportunities for the EU agricultural workforce to update and maintain a variety of skills, to be sustainable, competitive and to respond to evolving societal demands. This is the premise that has been driving the Thematic Group (TG) working on nurturing skills for a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector.

A Highlights Report of the TG’s first meeting is now available on the event’s webpage which outlines how funding from the CSPs can help provide key skills for farmers in subjects such as sustainability, digitalisation and diversification.

The TG’s second meeting took place in January to further develop and finalise its understanding of needs and opportunities related to updated agricultural skills. TG members shared good practices and assessed fit-for-purpose tools to help them draw action-oriented recommendations aimed at improving skills provision and the skills development of agricultural workers.

Demonstration farms, exchange visits, advisory services and collective working were all considered useful by the TG, especially when tailored to the specific needs of their target audiences. Special attention was seen as necessary regarding skills that enable farmers to make the most of CAP’s green architecture, as well as less technical skills such as communication and leadership.

Agricultural well-being

Health is an essential enabling factor for all forms of farm work. Farmers’ mental health is prioritised by our latest TG involved with supporting rural areas’ socio-economic fabric. The TG’s first meeting takes place on 27 February to launch our thematic networking in this critical topic for farming communities.

Farmers' mental health is often affected by influences such as long working hours, financial uncertainty, and isolation. Issues related to appropriate healthcare support can exacerbate problems while economic challenges, climate concerns and increased scrutiny on the farming profession can also make farmers feel under pressure.

Scope for what support the CSPs can provide will form a core component of TG members’ networking concerning the most important and urgent goals to achieve for fostering better mental health and well-being of EU farming communities.