European Union Member States this week agreed to a series of support measures proposed by the Commission to ease the financial difficulties faced by farmers due to adverse weather conditions, and increase the availability of feed for animals.
Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Since the beginning of the extreme climatic events, we have been closely following the situation and are ready to support our farmers. The Commission has been in close contact with all Member States throughout, and we have reacted swiftly when necessary. These measures should relieve European farmers financially and protect them against a shortage of fodder for their livestock.”
The actions Member States agreed on in a committee meeting include the possibility for higher advance payments and several exceptional derogations on greening rules to help farmers provide sufficient feed for their animals. Affected farmers will be able to receive a higher percentage of their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments to improve their cash flow. This includes:
- Receiving up to 70% of their direct payments as of mid-October;
- And receiving 85% of their rural development payments as soon as the package of measures is formally adopted at the beginning of September.
Derogations to certain greening rules will also be allowed to increase the availability of feed. This includes the possibility to:
- Consider land lying fallow as a distinct crop or as an ecological focus area even though it has been grazed or harvested;
- Sow ‘catch crops’ as ‘pure crops’ (and not a mixture of crops as currently prescribed) if intended for grazing or fodder production;
- Shorten the 8-week minimum period for ‘catch crops’ to allow arable farmers to sow their winter crops in a timely manner after their ‘catch crops’.
Following the decision, this package of measures should be formally adopted at the beginning of September.
The Commission will continue to be in contact with all Member States regarding the impact of droughts.