What are examples of agriculture 1

Common agricultural policy and EU agricultural spending

For more than 50 years, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been one of the most important and significant policy areas of the European Union (EU). This is why a large part of the EU budget has always been used for this area. With the agricultural reforms of recent years, agricultural expenditure has increased less than other EU expenditure. As a result, the share of agricultural spending in EU spending has steadily declined.

The main goals of the CAP are market-oriented promotion of agriculture and an innovative and growth-oriented policy for rural development, taking into account the goals of environmental, resource and climate protection. Funding comes from two EU agricultural funds, the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF, also known as the 1st pillar of the CAP) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD, also known as the 2nd pillar of the CAP).

The 1st pillar comprises direct payments for farms and regulations on the agricultural markets. The 2nd pillar promotes the development of rural areas. Without the CAP, agriculture and many rural areas in Germany would face even greater economic, social and environmental challenges than they are today.

In addition to the production of healthy and diverse foods and the production and use of renewable raw materials, agriculture and forestry provide a large number of services for society. As the main land users, farmers and foresters take on a special responsibility for the preservation of nature and the environment. They cultivate and maintain a large part of the country's area, maintain the infrastructure in rural areas and shape the social fabric in the villages.

Farmers and foresters ensure

  • sustainable and resource-saving management of approx. 80% of the state's land,
  • the safe supply of the population with healthy and high-quality food,
  • comprehensive conservation, maintenance and design of the cultural, natural and recreational landscapes,
  • the generation of renewable raw materials and the provision of renewable energies, in particular from biomass,
  • the preservation of the useful, protective and recreational functions of the forests,
  • the preservation of biological diversity and
  • the safeguarding of jobs and value creation in agriculture and forestry, but also in the upstream and downstream areas.

These diverse services can only be provided to their full extent with support from public funds. Through regular, risk-oriented controls, the federal and state governments ensure that appropriate consideration is provided for the public funds.

The direct payments to farm owners were originally introduced as part of the compensation for the lowering of the support prices for important domestic agricultural products in order to continue to secure an adequate income for the farms. The promotion of agriculture was gradually shifted from product-related price support to direct payments to farmers that were decoupled from production.

The system of direct payments was fundamentally redesigned with the agricultural reform of 2005. While the subsidies were previously tied to the production of certain agricultural products, in Germany direct payments are now granted in the form of area-based payments regardless of the type and scope of agricultural production (“decoupling”). This removed incentives to produce surplus. Farmers can organize their farms flexibly and according to the farm's marketing opportunities. Furthermore, as a result of the decoupling, the direct payments have no trade-distorting influence on prices and production in other countries of the world, especially in developing countries. This redesign of the funding system will also make it easier to adapt to more site-appropriate and more environmentally friendly management methods. The few direct payments that were previously linked to production have either been abolished in recent years or integrated into the system of decoupled direct payments.

With the earlier support of the price level and also in the system of coupled direct payments, regions with high yields and producers from products with high support benefited in particular. In order to mitigate these effects and distribute the funds more fairly, a gradual redistribution took place in Germany, the end of which, since 2019, has resulted in nationwide uniform funding per hectare of eligible area (arable land, permanent grassland and permanent crops).

In 2013, another fundamental reform of the common agricultural policy was decided. As a result of this reform, the single farm payment granted up to and including 2014 was replaced by a system of direct payments that came into force in 2015, consisting of a basic payment, redistribution payment, greening payment and, if applicable, a young farmer payment. The basic, greening and young farmer bonuses will be paid out for the first time from the 2016 EU budget year.

The redistribution bonus is used to better support small and medium-sized businesses.

The direct payments are directly linked to compliance with numerous conditions (so-called “cross compliance instrument”). These include numerous existing EU regulations and directives for nature, environmental, animal and consumer protection as well as measures to maintain the areas in good agricultural and ecological condition, such as B. Requirements for avoiding erosion and protecting ground and surface waters. These requirements are continuously checked and violations are sanctioned. For agricultural areas not used for production, greening measures are mandatory. The removal of certain landscape elements - such as hedges, rows of trees and field trees - is not permitted even if their removal would enable a far more profitable production for the farmer. By preserving ecologically valuable structural elements as a retreat for flora and fauna in intensively used agricultural landscapes, the direct payments combined with cross-compliance make a contribution to the preservation of regional cultural values.

In the course of the progressive liberalization of the agricultural markets, the importance of the EU agricultural market measures has decreased considerably. Most of them now have the character of a so-called “safety net” in the event of unusual market disruptions. With the safety net z. B. react to extreme market price fluctuations without constant intervention in the markets.

Against this background, the market measures in their current form are still of great importance. They help to stabilize the agricultural markets in the EU and thereby ensure a continuous supply of high-quality and safe food at reasonable prices to European consumers. In addition, together with the direct payments, they help farmers to secure a calculable income. As a consequence of liberalization, farmers and consumers will still have to adjust to greater market and price fluctuations for agricultural products and food.

The payments for market support measures receive not only farms but also companies in the trade and the food industry.

Some measures are also used to pursue nutritional goals, e. B. the aid for school milk and school fruit. Others focus on measures to improve the structure and the strengthening of competitiveness, such as the support measures in the wine sector, or market stabilization, such as B. Intervention and private storage aid.

The market support instruments primarily include the following measures:

  • Public intervention
  • Private storage aid
  • EU school program for fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products
  • Aid in the fruit and vegetable sector
  • Support measures in the wine sector
  • Aid in the beekeeping sector

A detailed description of the individual agricultural market measures can be found under the search for agricultural payments. As soon as a recipient has received payments for a particular measure, a description of the measure is displayed there.

The EU and member states see the development and strengthening of rural areas as a central area of ​​responsibility. Within the framework of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) - with national co-financing (federal, state, local authorities) - a wide range of development measures is supported that benefit the entire rural area and the local population.

The funding measures are not only aimed at farmers and foresters, but also at many other actors in rural areas (e.g. municipalities, food processing companies). You can see more details, especially the offers of the individual countries, at http://www.netzwerk-laendlicher-raum.de.

The vast majority of EAFRD funds in Germany flow into the following funding areas:

  • Compensatory allowance for less favored areas
  • Agricultural Investment Promotion
  • Measures to improve the market structure
  • Agri-environmental and climate measures including the promotion of organic farming
  • Preservation and enhancement of the rural heritage
  • Integrated rural development
  • leader
  • Coastal and flood protection
  • Forest environment and other forest measures

A detailed description of the individual support measures for rural areas can be found under the search for agricultural payments. As soon as a recipient has received payments for a particular measure, a description of the measure is displayed there.