Many older farmers have no-one to take over their businesses

Sheep take shelter from the sun. Photo:
Sheep take shelter from the sun. Photo:

Most of the Netherlands’ older farmers and market gardeners have no successor and 15,000 businesses could disappear within the next 10 years, national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

In particular, sheep farms and ornamental plant growers are struggling to stay in business, the CBS said.

There are currently some 55,000 agrarian companies in the Netherlands, of whom 25,000 are run by someone over the age of 55. Of them, 15,000 have no one lined up to take over their firms.

There are, however, strong regional differences, the CBS said. Farms in Flevoland are in demand but farmers in Gelderland, Utrecht and Zuid-Holland are the least likely to sell or pass on their companies.

Bigger firms are more likely to continue operating than small ones, the CBS said.

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