Mediterranean Agriculture Show: the transmission of farms and know-how, a key issue for tomorrow

Mediterranean Agriculture Show: the transmission of farms and know-how, a key issue for tomorrow

Jean-Luc et Lohan Bouniol, Luc et Pauline Fonta Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

Au centre des enjeux liés à l'agriculture contemporaine, la question de la transmission sucscite de multiples réflexions. 

At the entrance to Villeveyrac, the town's overturned signs still bear witness to the anger of farmers that was evident throughout France a few months ago. The profession is in a deep existential crisis. This is evidenced by the few figures put forward by Sophie Nogues, president of the Hérault departmental technical committee for Safer Occitanie, during the round table on agricultural professions and training at the Villeveyrac Mediterranean Agriculture Show. “Within 10 years, 50% of farmers will be of retirement age. The renewal rate is two installations for every three departures. Finally, in Hérault, more than half of the farmers are over 50 years old." So much for the implacable observation, which raises a central question: that of the transmission of farms to new generations.

The land of sons

The insurer Groupama, Safer therefore, or the Chamber of Agriculture of Hérault. There were many of them this Saturday morning to list the support systems for young farmers or people who are retraining. But those who talk about it best are perhaps the operators themselves and their children. Like Jean-Luc Bouniol, olive farmer in the Clermont-l’Hérault region, and his son Lohan. Jean-Luc took over the family business a little over 20 years ago, with the desire to transform his vineyard lands into olive groves. "The estate is called La terre de fieux, which means the land of sons in Occitan, it has been in our family for 16 generations", explains -he. Quite a program therefore, when we talk about transmission.

"My father taught me everything"

Why did this history and geography professor decide to embark on the great agricultural adventure ? "The mystery of roots", he answers. When he sees his father tearing up his vines which are gradually replacing brambles, he has a revelation. "Something had to be done, it’was now or never", he says. By his own admission, he knew nothing about it: "It’it was my father who taught me everything". These are aspects of transmission that public organizations will perhaps never be able to replace: the spontaneity of commitment and the generosity of our elders. His son Lohan says he is ready to take up the torch. Although he has not yet completely made his decision, the 18-year-old young man is currently training in a BTS in the plant sector.

Agroecology

Pauline Fonta, 19 years old, and her father Luc are from Villeveyrac. Luc is the manager of the Les Trois Mazets wine estate, and his daughter, who "grew up in the scrubland", has been helping him ever since his youngest age. When asked where she imagines herself in ten years, the young woman answers directly "at the estate, with my father". What attracts him to the profession is above all the autonomy and contact with nature. Moreover, she confides "not being able to live in a big city". "I know that I've wanted to work in the vineyard since second grade, I've already done all the positions."< /p>

Her father's agroecology approach particularly appeals to her and she does not see herself being employed in a large conventional farm. "We have to adapt to nature and not the other way around", says the young woman who is currently studying business. Luc Fonta adds: "If we don't make young people want to become farmers by proposing new methods, we will never be self-sufficient." Changing models to encourage vocations is perhaps part of the solution.

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