EDITORIAL

Generational change

Besides the wish (absolutely justified) of doing everything for their sons’ happiness, parents would like to transmit them the professional experience gained and, especially nowadays, grant them the opportunity of a concrete opportunity of a continuative and stable job, eventually in the family’s business, if they own one. In agriculture, this dynamics is even more felt and quite present till now, sometimes in less accentuated forms, for instance as sons’ part-time collaboration in the family-owned business activities, waiting for a more suitable employment for their attitudes and aspirations. In such context, still today a significant difference in generations’ visions is frequent, especially concerning the implementation strategies of crops and/or livestock productions. Actually, the debate (and sometimes the clash …) springs from youth’s enthusiasm and the will of experimenting and the certainties of the maturity. The different opinions influence the choices of technical production means, machinery included.

They are very important decisions, to the extent that they condition, sometimes seriously, the company’s economic-financial destiny, due to the huge amounts at stake overall. Young people who work in agriculture want anyway to make their voice heard, to offer new ideas to the agricultural world, often accused of excessive conservatism. At the beginning of last April, in the venue of the EU Parliament in Brussels, they held the 3th European Congress of Young Farmers, with the participation of over 200 sector entrepreneurs coming from 17 different member States, with the target of favouring the ideas exchange of young farmers and the decision-makers of the Community policies that concern them directly, to boost them in proposing projects oriented to the sustainability. On the occasion, they awarded the most significant innovative ideas, just aimed at the sustainability of the agricultural system. The prize for the best project was given to four young people coming from Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Spain. New Holland sponsored the event in the name of its strategy “Clean Energy Leader” in favour of an efficient and sustainable agriculture, and invited the winners to take part in a study trip by one of its sites in Europe. Actually, the so-called “generational conflict” is mirrored with increasing evidence by the agricultural mechanization field, too. An immediate example: the so-called “digital natives” are immediately at ease on tractors equipped with monitor, joystick, satellite guide, ISOBus, and so on. Their fathers (and even more their grandfathers …) on the contrary find it hard, very hard. And in any case, despite their commitment, they cannot exploit all these novelties completely. If we compare whatever tractor of our time with one, in the same category, dating back to just 30 years ago, we can recognize that the two machines basically do the same job but there is a technical gulf between them. Not so much in terms of performances (well, this is quite impressive …), but instead in management and driving modalities. Therefore, has the progress swept away the old concept of tractor, “the full mechanical” one? No, this has not happened (and I suppose it will not occur), essentially for two reasons: 1) because the crisis has obliged manufacturers to recover certain designs of “poor” tractors, now deemed obsolete but mandatorily relaunched to satisfy the new demands in some markets, also advanced, which are rediscovering simple machines (i.e.: cheap and reliable); 2) because the appearance on developed markets of basic tractors produced in rising Countries has met an unexpected success. Therefore, what can be the synthesis? The one that some top manufacturers are already applying, that is to say offering machine families, especially in the sector of the so-called “utility” tractors, with highly differentiated technical contents. In this case, too, an example for all, which concerns the transmission: from the simple mechanical version with few ranges and gears and mechanical shuttle to the various power-shift combinations, up to a continuously variable transmission. In other words: for all ages and … pockets!

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