Family farming and the role of policy in the EU

Last week Dacian Ciolos welcomed the launch of the UN’s International Year of Family Farming 2014 and on Friday this week the Commission is holding a conference in Brussels on “Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and in the world”.

The Commissioner emphasised that over 95% of farm holdings in the EU are family farms, and that “family farms are the foundations on which Europe’s Common agricultural policy was built. They continue to stay at the heart of European agriculture as robust generators of competitiveness, growth and jobs, of dynamic and sustainable rural economies.”

Others take a different view of structural developments in EU farming.… Read the rest

Wasting money on young farmers?

This post first appeared in the IIEA EnvironmentNexus blog.

One of the issues on the CAP reform agenda discussed at the last Agricultural Council meeting was whether the proposed young farmers’ payment in Pillar 1 should be a voluntary option for member states or not. The Council is arguing for a voluntary payment. Both the Commission and Parliament argue, on the contrary, that the payment should be mandatory.

Making this a mandatory payment could imply a three- to four-fold increase in CAP expenditure on young farmers. One might assume that such a substantial increase in expenditure would be justified by well-founded evidence of substantial gains in either generational renewal or farm productivity.… Read the rest