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Demographic trends affect EU farms' availability of successors and hired labour. If a potential successor is available, generational renewal on family farms occurs in stages: the successor's identity formation, the farm transfer, and the farm development. If generational renewal on the farm level is not possible, adaptations of other farms can ensure the future provision of private and public goods on the regional level if there is a sufficient supply of hired labour.
Accumulating shocks and long-term stresses, such as trade conflicts, climate change and deteriorating public trust in agricultural practices have raised concerns about the resilience of Europe’s diverse farming systems. The SURE-Farm approach aims to systematically assess the resilience capacities of farming systems, i.e. regional constellations of farms and other actors that provide a range of private and public goods, using local resources and traded inputs. This chapter introduces the key concepts and outlines the SURE-Farm approach to assess the resilience challenges and capacities of farming systems. It sets the scene for the empirical analyses and synthesizing assessments presented in the following chapters.
This chapter aims to synthesize key findings from the SURE-Farm project. We first discuss possible amendments to the framework to assess the resilience of farming systems. We then review why many of Europe’s farming systems face a formidable and structural resilience crisis. While emphasizing the diversity of resilience capacities, challenges and needs, we formulate cornerstones for possible resilience-enhancing strategies. The chapter concludes with critical reflections and suggestions for resilience-enhancing strategies that comprise the levels of farms, farming systems and enabling environments. We identify limitations of the research and suggest avenues for future research on the resilience of farming systems.
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