The CAP and agricultural employment

Phil Hogan, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, has promised a Communication on modernising and simplifying the CAP before the end of 2017. One of the six broad objectives for the CAP set out in the Commission’s inception impact assessment is to “encourage a vibrant rural economy by fostering growth and jobs in rural areas and encouraging generational renewal”.
This builds on one of the three objectives for Pillar 2 rural development spending in the 2014-2020 period which is “achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment” (Art.

Read the rest

The viability of EU farms

Economic sustainability is usually taken to be one of the three legs of the sustainability concept (the others being environmental and social sustainability – hence the phrase ‘people, planet, profit’). But what do we know about the economic sustainability of EU farming and how to measure it? A recent paper by researchers (Cathal O’Donoghue, Simon Devisme, Mary Ryan, Ricky Conneely, Patrick Gillespie and Hans Vrolijk) participating in the FLINT project have now used a pilot dataset collected at farm level in 8 Member States to focus attention on this issue.
The FLINT (Farm Level Indicators for New Topics) research project investigates the feasibility of providing policy-makers and the agro-food industry with farm-level indicators on sustainability and other relevant new issues.

Read the rest

Does farm size matter?

On October 20th next I will take part in a workshop organised by DG AGRI at the Milan EXPO on the subject “Structural realities in EU agriculture: Does farm size matter?” The aim of the workshop is to discuss the challenges and opportunities brought about by the structural change of the EU agricultural sector for a) the up- and downstream industries, b) EU rural areas and c) the sustainability of agricultural production in Europe.
The debate on farm size
There is a long history in Europe of interest in the structure of agricultural holdings. Many European countries have had land legislation in place with the objective of maximising the number of farm holdings or limiting the maximum farm size.

Read the rest

The greying of Europe's farmers

Problems in the generational transfer of farms have been a focus of EU agricultural structures policy since the 1990s and in individual member states for an even longer period. Europe’s farmers are getting older, and the shortage of ‘new blood’ entering the industry is frequently seen as a problem requiring a policy response to correct.
The ageing of the agricultural population results from a combination of two things: a reduced rate of entry by new young recruits, and a reduced rate of retirement or exit by older farmers. This is taking place in the context of a long term reduction in the agricultural labour force in EU countries.

Read the rest

The greying of Europe’s farmers

Problems in the generational transfer of farms have been a focus of EU agricultural structures policy since the 1990s and in individual member states for an even longer period. Europe’s farmers are getting older, and the shortage of ‘new blood’ entering the industry is frequently seen as a problem requiring a policy response to correct.

The ageing of the agricultural population results from a combination of two things: a reduced rate of entry by new young recruits, and a reduced rate of retirement or exit by older farmers. This is taking place in the context of a long term reduction in the agricultural labour force in EU countries.

Read the rest