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Why are we so lousy at measuring farmers’ incomes?

It has been heard and written everywhere for the last 18 months: farm incomes have gone down dramatically. After two years of carpet bombing by the media, with anything from 60 percent price fall in prices to desperate farmers spreading their milk in the fields, the consultation on the future of the CAP organized by Commissioner Ciolos suggest that many, in the civil society, are convinced that EU farmers are starving. As an external reviewer of the synthesis report of this consultation, I saw a large sample of individual contributions. My feeling is that for many people, the current low farm incomes justify subsidies, border protection and paying more attention to mechanisms to support farm prices.… Read the rest

Why are we so lousy at measuring farmers' incomes?

It has been heard and written everywhere for the last 18 months: farm incomes have gone down dramatically. After two years of carpet bombing by the media, with anything from 60 percent price fall in prices to desperate farmers spreading their milk in the fields, the consultation on the future of the CAP organized by Commissioner Ciolos suggest that many, in the civil society, are convinced that EU farmers are starving. As an external reviewer of the synthesis report of this consultation, I saw a large sample of individual contributions. My feeling is that for many people, the current low farm incomes justify subsidies, border protection and paying more attention to mechanisms to support farm prices.… Read the rest

Crystal ball gazing: Scenar II study on the effects of CAP reform

A new economic modelling study commissioned by DG Agriculture shows that many of the core claims made for the CAP are highly misleading, or downright wrong. The Scenar 2020 II study shows that if the subsidies, tariffs, intervention prices and quotas of the CAP were abolished and replaced with a free market, European overall agri-food production would be almost unchanged. This finding directly contradicts the argument that the CAP is an essential policy for ensuring that Europe remains a global agricultural powerhouse and ensuring European citizens have access to a reliable supply of affordable food.

The big picture message is that farming is subject to a range of economic, technological and demographic pressures that far outweigh the effects of agriculture policy, athough there are some exceptions.… Read the rest

Roger Waite the new voice of DG Agri

Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts and frequent podcast guest on this blog, has accepted the job of spokesperson for Agriculture Commissioner-designate Dacian Ciolos. It’s sometimes said that you can count the number of people who truly understand the Common Agricultural Policy on the fingers of one hand. Roger is certainly among that select few. He’s been reporting on agriculture policy in Brussels for the past 17 years and certainly knows his way around. He speaks fluent French (and German?) and has been said to possess a ‘silver tongue’. He steps into the larger-than-average shoes of Michael Mann, another poacher-turned-gamekeeper who gave up his job as the Financial Times Brussels correspondent to speak for Ciolos’s predecessor Mariann Fischer Boel.… Read the rest