Direct payments in Finland
Have the changes been established yet?
With the Agrarian Reform of 2015 of the European Union, the system of direct payments has been fundamentally revised. From then on, payments should be geared to the compensation of certain social performances even more than before.
One key element of the new system is so-called greening. In principle the greening program is meant to secure the future of rural areas.
Greening basically means the ecologization of agriculture. In order to fulfill the greening, besides a diversification of planting to prevent monocultures, grassland has to be used. In addition, ecological priority areas have to be created. According to definition, ecological priority areas mean land use in the interest of the environment. This means that five percent of operational arable land have to be allocated to ecological priority areas.
Kleffmann Group conducted a study concerning the allocation of ecological priority areas of Finnish farmers in summer 2016. From July to September 2016 employees of the Scandinavian market research company Norstat consulted approximately 600 farmers concerning this matter.
Among respondents, 107 farmers (18 percent) stated that they had increased their crop spectrum. However, in reverse this means that 480 farmers did not change their cultivation program. The European Union did not manage to convince them to increase or change their plantation spectrum.
In regards to the crops that 107 farmers had planted recently, 17 farmers (16 percent) mentioned weeds, 17 farmers (16 percent) clovers, followed by threshing peas (13 percent) and broad beans with 9 percent. Also, it is quite remarkable that 9 farmers decided to cultivate caraway seeds, most of them in Etelä-Suomi.
All 597 farmers were asked to name the crops that they are allowed to classify as ecological priority area. Almost three-fourths of the interviewees did not answer this question at all. Of the remaining 158 farmers, 112 were classified for fallow land, 49 for nitrogen fixing crops and six for conservation areas.
The study shows that the changes of the European Agrarian Reform in 2015 have not been established yet in Finland on a large scale. Kleffmann Group interviewed farmers concerning their ecological compensation area. Only a few farmers extended their planting spectrum in 2016 and only 25 percent of the interviewed farms named the crops that should be cultivated based on the five-percent-requirement of the European Union.
Team Manager AMIS