The European Commission is standing by Europe’s farmers this summer, as they grapple with the difficulties of extreme droughts. Farmers will be able to receive their direct and rural development payments in advance and will be granted more flexibility to use land that would normally not be used for production, in order to feed their animals.
Commissioner for agriculture, Phil Hogan, said: “I am very concerned about these prolonged climatic developments. I have been in contact with a number of ministers from affected countries to discuss the situation and get up-to-date assessments of its impact. The Commission, as always, is ready to support farmers affected by drought using a number of instruments, including higher advance payments, derogations from greening requirements and state aid. The Common Agricultural Policy already provides a safety net for farmers who have to deal with unpredictable events. I am encouraging all Member States to look into all possible actions and measures provided for in our legislation.” The ongoing and prolonged drought situation in several EU countries is having a significant impact on the production of arable crops, as well as animal feed which could also have an impact on animal welfare. In addition, the reduction in the level of animal feed is having a particular impact on the income of livestock farmers, as this will increase their input costs if there is a shortage of fodder later in the year. In addition to higher advance payments and derogations from specific greening requirements, existing support under the CAP can be used, including state aid, de minimis, rural development investments and risk management instruments. The Commission is in contact with all Member States to receive by 31 August updated information of the impact of the spring and summer drought on their farmers. A press release is online with further information.