The US Farm Bill: Lessons for CAP Reform ?

The current CAP reform debate and the US Farm Bill debate have been taking place in parallel for several months. There are some interesting contrasts between the two procedures, which are explored in a note for the European Parliament. The note also describes the current situation of the Farm Bill negotiations, based on the proposals tabled by the Senate and by the Committee of Agriculture of the House of Representatives (not endorsed by the House as a whole, so far).
It is difficult to compare the proposed €370 billion for 7 years in the CAP (a crude estimate based on recent budget proposals) with some US$ 690 billion, i.e

Read the rest

The nitty-gritty of CAP reform: the case of new entrants

David Barnes is the Scottish Government’s Deputy Director for Agriculture and Rural Development. He sits with his Minister around the Council of Agricultural Ministers’ table as the negotiations on the shape of the CAP2020 take place and, more interestingly, he blogs about it. His blog gives an insider’s view and a personal perspective on what is going on during the course of the negotiations. Not surprisingly, his posts give some fascinating insights into the process.
The complexity of the CAP 2020 fineprint was demonstrated in one of his recent posts which addressed issues for new entrants that might arise under the Commission’s proposal for the allocation of entitlements under a new direct payments scheme.

Read the rest

European Parliament postpones vote on CAP reforms

COMAGRI and the European Parliament have decided to delay their voting on the Commission’s CAP reform proposals until the New Year, according to a report in the UK Farmers’ Guardian today. The new timetable means that it is unlikely that the new regulations can be agreed between the Council and the Parliament until late in the Irish Presidency in the first semester next year.
The latest CAP reform timetable is:

    December 15 – deadline for compromise amendments to be presented to Agriculture Committee.
    January 23/24, 2013 – CAP vote in Agriculture Committee.
    March 2013 – plenary vote in Parliament.
    March 2013 onwards – trilogue negotiations between EU Commission, Parliament and EU Ministers.
Read the rest

Cyprus Presidency issues second revised MFF negotiating box

The Cyprus Presidency yesterday circulated its second revision to the MFF negotiating box, this time inserting some figures for the individual MFF headings for the first time.
It is a cautious document in its attempts to balance the very different interests of the member states as they try to reach agreement on the MFF at the special November European Council meeting. Agricultural spending escapes lightly in the Presidency proposal which shows where budget reductions in the proposed 2014-2020 MFF might fall.
The preamble to the document states that it presents savings across all Headings of the MFF amounting to at least €50+ billion (this is in comparison to the Commission’s revised MFF proposal in July 2012).

Read the rest

October Agricultural Council continues CAP debate

Agricultural Ministers continued to grind through their discussions on CAP2020 issues under the Cypriot Presidency at the Agricultural Council meeting on 22 and 23 October earlier this week. Three issues were on the agenda: internal convergence, support for young farmers in Pillar 1, and a strengthened role for producer organisations. The background note prepared by the Presidency is here, and the conclusions of the meeting are reported here. The discussions took place on the basis of two questionnaires circulated by the Presidency on internal convergence and young farmers, respectively.
Internal convergence

Many member states applying the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) have voiced concerns about the difficulties in achieving a uniform level of distribution of direct support at national or regional level (internal convergence) by 2019.

Read the rest

What potential agroforestry holds for the future CAP?

More than 80 policy makers, farmer’s representatives, NGOs and scientists got together on Wednesday this week in the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the potential agroforestry holds for the future CAP. The event, entitled “Agroforestry: Trees for a Sustainable European Agriculture”, was organised and chaired by MEP Gaston Franco with the aim of promoting and supporting agroforestry at the European level. The programme (see agenda and presentations here) has brought together many speakers with various backgrounds and perspectives, resulting in a demonstration of a diverse and sophisticated picture of the field.
Agroforestry combines production and environmental protection in an innovative way, said Alain Canet – President of the French Agroforestry Association.

Read the rest

Farmer-friendly ideas on greening

COPA-COGECA leaders are currently presenting their new detailed position on greening and green growth at the Congress of European Farmers, organised in Budapest on October 1?3, 2012. The theme of the Congress  is “The Future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): How European Farmers can ensure Food Security Innovatively and Profitably”.
COPA-COGECA is largely against the greening proposals tabled by the Commission last year, saying that they make farmers do a lot more for less money, thereby leading to higher costs, higher food prices and more dependence on imports. They would also increase bureaucracy, of course. Therefore, the farmers’ organisation produced a list of six alternative measures to tackle the problem of greening in a farmer-friendly way: crop diversification (of rotated crops), a certification scheme (food), permanent grasses, replacement of EFAs by uncultivated land, break crops, protein crops.

Read the rest

How close is the EU to agreement on spending one trillion euro?

The negotiations on the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) are critical to the current CAP reform process. These negotiations will determine the size of the financial envelope as well as many of the key parameters which will decide the future shape of the CAP.
I have previously commented on the slow progress of the MFF negotiations (see here and here). In principle, these negotiations need to be completed under the Cypriot Presidency by the end of this year, to allow the negotiations on the future CAP regulations to be completed under the Irish Presidency in the first half of next year, so that the necessary supplemental legislation as well as member state rural programmes can be passed and approved by the end of 2013.

Read the rest

OECD reports EU farm transfers at lowest level ever

The OECD produced the 2012 edition of its Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation report during the week. This is the publication that keeps tabs on the transfers to and from farmers and consumers as a result of government policy interventions. It also usually contains a chapter on a special theme, which this year is devoted to fostering innovation and productivity growth in agriculture.
General findings

The results are summarised in a series of indicators, of which the most well-known is the Producer Support Estimate (PSE) usually expressed in percentage terms. It measures the percentage of farm receipts in a country that is due to public policies.

Read the rest

Further thoughts on CAP greening

Kaley Hart (of the IEEP) and Jonathan Little (on secondment to the European Parliament’s secretariat) have just published a paper which provides a useful summary of the first round of the CAP greening debate over the past 12 months. They argue that, in relation to the individual greening measures, each has a range of potential benefits as well as a set of issues which may serve to constrain this potential. They note that the perceived added cost and bureaucracy involved with green direct payments has been a common theme of the public debates within the Agriculture Council.
The second part of their paper compares the relative merits of different alternative options to the Commission’s proposals.

Read the rest