Set-aside: ensuring the environmental benefits

Ariel Brunner in a recent post lamented the fact that the EU has proposed to set the rate of compulsory set-aside to 0% for the 2008 harvest without putting in place alternative measures to secure the environmental benefits which set-aside land provides. The reason why the decision only concerns autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings is that a decision to eliminate set-aside can only be done in the context of a global review of arable crops policy. This will be undertaken as part of the CAP Health Check, when the Commission has promised an analysis on how and by which means we can address the positive environmental side effects of set aside.… Read the rest

Less likelihood of cuts in Single Farm Payment

The Irish Farmers’ Journal reports that the value of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) is not likely to be greatly eroded by “financial discipline” cuts in order to accommodate the payments to new Member States within the European Union. This is because more buoyant farm prices mean that there will be huge cuts in the cost of traditional market support measures, such as intervention and export subsidies, leaving sufficient money in the CAP budget to fund the SFP. Agra Europe forecasts that the cost of traditional support measures will fall by half by 2013, and that budget-related cuts in the SFP of no more than 2% will be necessary by 2013 to stay within the CAP budget ceiling.… 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

CAP policy instruments and policy goals: cause or effect?

Fellow blogger Wyn Grant presented a paper in Paris last month which presents a wide-ranging overview of the changes in CAP policy instruments since its inception to the present day. His basic thesis is that over time the instruments have changed much more than the objectives and that this does reflect a shift in the content of the CAP and its ultimate goals. He concludes that it is changes in CAP policy which have led to changes in policy instruments, although he does cite some examples where the introduction of new instruments, possibly by creating obvious anomalies, can spark off wider policy debates (trading SFP entitlements, voluntary modulation).… Read the rest