European Commission split over biofuels

The European Commission is experiencing a bitter three-way split over biofuels policy, with no real sign of who will prevail. Chief among the biofuels boosters is DG Energy & Transport, which sees a rapid expansion of biofuel production and consumption as a core part of meeting high-level commitments to green energy and reducing dependency on fossil fuel imports from unstable regions like the Middle East or unreliable countries like Russia. DG Energy is in a bitter disagreement with DG Environment on the question of whether biofuels are part of the solution to climate change or part of the problem.… Read the rest

UK data on distribution of farm payments

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory recently published a statistical analysis of the breakdown of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) in England, one of the four regions for the purposes of administering the SFP scheme in the UK. The report analyses 2005 payments, with some historical comparison with the distibution of payments in previous years. One of the findings is that average payment rates per hectare are related more to farm type than to farm size. Apart from the very smallest farm size group (holdings with between 0 and 0.5 Standard Labour Requirements), the average payment per hectare for all remaining farm sizes varies minimally between £187 and £197/hectare.… Read the rest

Why farm subsidies are bad for young farmers

Today, in Brussels, the Commission is hosting a special day for European young farmers. The day is being billed as part of the consultation in the run-up to the CAP health check, after which this blog is named. What is unlikely to be discussed at the meeting are the very real reasons why the current system of farm subsidies are overwhelmingly bad for young farmers and new farmers seeking to make a start in agriculture in the European Union.… Read the rest