European Union, Common Agricultural Policy | See European Union.

Reforms to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy mean industrialised farms over 15 hectares must have at least 5% of their land as an ‘Ecological Focus Area’ (EFA). The EFAs include buffer strips around fields, fallow land, cover or catch crops, hedges and nitrogen-fixing crops. Without these areas the landowners will not receive the full Basic Payment (BPS) from the EU. Over the last nine years the payments to famers have been shifted from production subsidies (‘butter mountains’ and ‘wine lakes’) to what should be called environmental land management payments based solely on the area of land with a variety of cross compliance measures aimed at basic environmental protection. The environmental requirements are set pretty low, but once established it enables further bolstering of environmental measures. The new Greening Rules which include the EFAs do not apply to holdings that are certified organic (and thus Biodynamic as all Demeter certified farms are certified organic as a baseline). This means organic and Biodynamic growers do not have to change their management practices in practical terms to receive public funds from the CAP. This vital development, confirmed in EU agricultural policy, that inherent in organic and Biodynamic farming systems are environmental outputs sufficient to meet the current EU demands for biodiversity, environmental protection and habitat protection.

Bibliography

Spencer Christie, ‘From Koberwitz to the CAP–Biodiversity and Biodynamics’, Star and Furrow (Journal of the Biodynamic Association UK) 125 July 2016 p32-33.