FADN data highlights dependence of EU farms on subsidy payments

Last week, the DG AGRI Farm Accountancy Data Network, FADN, made available aggregated data in its public database for the 2012 accounting year. In addition, there is now a Farm Economy Focus, or country fact sheet, based on the 2012 data for each member state which presents key FADN results in a graphical form for a general audience.
The FADN database is a key tool both for policy-makers and researchers seeking to understand the behaviour of farmers and the agricultural economy. The survey does not cover the smallest farms, but it is representative for over 4.9 million holdings across the Union.

Read the rest

The worst case scenario examined

A new study from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands has attempted to model the effects of the abolition of EU farm subsidies. The authors of the report state that their study is very much a ‘worst case assessment’ since,

“It does not take into account farmers’ behaviour, although the past has shown that farmers do adapt to changes in the Common Agricultural Policy. It also assumes a fixed cost structure and abstracts from changes in factor prices and structural change, all elements which would reduce the impact of reform on farm incomes.”

The report makes it clear that the effect of subsidies – and their removal – is not felt evenly across Europe.

Read the rest

OECD research on the CAP

Agricultural ministers of the OECD met in late February 2010 – the first time since 1998 – and issued a communiqué that touches on everything and says close to nothing. For once, such an empty statement is perfectly fine. The OECD Secretariat doesn’t need its ministers in order to do an excellent job in providing intellectual guidance and hard data.

The flagship of OECD research is certainly the country-level analysis of agricultural policies, based on Producer and Consumer Support Estimates and enriched by a brief description of recent policy developments in the report on Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: Monitoring and Evaluation 2009.

Read the rest

A new decade, a new CAP

Five leading European farming and environmental NGOs, who between them boast several million members, have jointly published a blueprint for a new Common Agricultural Policy. In an unusual and very modern step, they have published a draft proposal and opened it for consultation. They will produce a final version in 2010. The proposal, which runs to 28 pages, is for a radical reorientation of the CAP away from a productivist and income support model towards a ‘public money for public goods’ ethos.

Read the rest

Scotland 'on message' on farm subsidies

Scotland is far more in tune with current thinking on farm subsidies in mainland Europe than England and Wales, claims Scotland’s rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead. Addressing farmers at a Christmas Carcass competition in Inverurie, Mr Lochhead brought them glad tidings about the deep divide in agriculture policies on the two sides of the border. ‘My opinion on CAP reform is very different from DEFRA’s view that all direct subsidies should be removed and we should rely on a free market. Scotland should not go down that route and our thinking is much closer to the mainstream of Europe which is that the pendulum is swinging back towards support for active agriculture.’

Read the rest

Scotland ‘on message’ on farm subsidies

Scotland is far more in tune with current thinking on farm subsidies in mainland Europe than England and Wales, claims Scotland’s rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead. Addressing farmers at a Christmas Carcass competition in Inverurie, Mr Lochhead brought them glad tidings about the deep divide in agriculture policies on the two sides of the border. ‘My opinion on CAP reform is very different from DEFRA’s view that all direct subsidies should be removed and we should rely on a free market. Scotland should not go down that route and our thinking is much closer to the mainstream of Europe which is that the pendulum is swinging back towards support for active agriculture.’

Read the rest

New book reveals extent of 'box shifting'

When the negotiators in the Uruguay Round of the GATT introduced the concept of the ‘green box’ – farm support measures that are minimally or non-trade distorting and therefore exempt from any limits – few would have foreseen that within 15 years, the bulk of farm support in the developed world would be in the green box. A new book “Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence with Sustainable Development Goals”, published by Cambridge University Press, shows the extent to which farm support has been shifted out of more traditional, trade distorting measures and into the green box. It addresses the vexed question of whether green box supports are really as trade-neutral and environmentally beneficial as they are claimed to be.

Read the rest

New book reveals extent of ‘box shifting’

When the negotiators in the Uruguay Round of the GATT introduced the concept of the ‘green box’ – farm support measures that are minimally or non-trade distorting and therefore exempt from any limits – few would have foreseen that within 15 years, the bulk of farm support in the developed world would be in the green box. A new book “Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence with Sustainable Development Goals”, published by Cambridge University Press, shows the extent to which farm support has been shifted out of more traditional, trade distorting measures and into the green box. It addresses the vexed question of whether green box supports are really as trade-neutral and environmentally beneficial as they are claimed to be.

Read the rest

Dairy sector measures do not set pulses racing

4000 dairy farmers with 900 tractors demonstrated outside an EU agricultural ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday calling for more aid for the sector. Inside, ministers faced a Franco-German memorandum backed by 20 member states with a series of demands for market distorting measures. In the event the concessions the Commission made are probably the least they could have got away with in the circumstances. Farmers’ organisation COPA immediately condemned them as insufficient.

Read the rest