News16 July 2018Brussels, BelgiumAgriculture and Rural Development
Commission agrees to drop crop diversification and ecological focus areas requirements due to adverse climate conditions
The non-production requisite on land lying fallow for farmers under crop diversification and/ or ecological focus area requirements have been lifted in eight EU member states for 2018. A severe drought significantly affected agricultural activities, especially in relation to animal feed resources, in those countries.
The European Commission has agreed to the request from Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish authorities for a temporary derogation from crop diversification and ecological focus areas rules - two of the so-called greening requirements that member states can choose to place on farmers in order to receive their direct payment
Due to exceptionally low rainfall combined with below normal temperatures for Portugal, and unusual high temperatures in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden, the yields of annual and multi-annual pastures and grasslands were highly affected either by delaying their cycle or by causing premature development. These climatic conditions also influenced the nutritional value of the crops. In parallel, alternative sources of animal feed were also impacted, either by delaying the seeding of spring crops or by causing early maturing.
Those developments raised concerns on animal feed affordability, due to the increasing costs linked with a shortage of production. By lifting the non-production requirements and allowing cutting and grazing in those areas, the land lying fallow can become a potential source of feed.
Member states can choose whether to apply the derogations to crop diversification or to ecological focus areas, or both. In addition, the dispensation will be granted to farmers established in areas officially recognised by member states as affected by the drought. These farmers also need to be in areas where livestock is located.