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Green Direct Payments

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Areas subject to at least one greening obligation

  • In 2015, agricultural land covered by at least one greening obligation accounts for 73% of the total EU utilised agricultural area, corresponding to 109.5 million ha.
  • The proportion of farmers under at least one greening obligation stands at around 37% of direct payment beneficiaries corresponding to 2.4 million farmers.
  • Areas not covered by any of the green direct payment obligations correspond to:
    (i) Agricultural areas not under the system of direct payments (which account for approximately 11% of the EU’s total agricultural area).
    (ii) Areas exempted from the greening obligations, i.e. farmers benefiting from the small farmers scheme, organic farms or farms with less than 10 ha of arable land. These exemptions can overlap with the small farmers scheme, organic farms and farms with less than 10 ha of arable land, which means that the overall percentage cannot be ascertained); an analysis on small farmers in direct payments is available in the chapter on Direct Payments.
    (iii) Areas under permanent crops, which account for 7% of the total EU agricultural area. Such areas receive green direct payments even though no greening obligations are applicable to these types of crop. The data presented on the implementation of greening excludes areas of farms that have only permanent crops.



Areas of organic farmers (ipso facto compliant with greening)

  • Organic farms are ipso facto compliant with greening and don’t have to respect the specific obligations.
  • Overall, in 2015 organic farmers quantified in the context of greening notifications are around 100.000, representing 2% of the total number of farmers in the EU receiving direct payments. Compared to the data on agricultural area from the Eurostat FSS for 2013, organic farms account for 4.8 million ha of the total agricultural area (3%), 2.4 million ha of arable land (3%) and 2.2 million ha of permanent grassland area (4%).
  • In four Member States (CZ, EE, LV, AT), organic farms account for over 10 % of the total agricultural area.
  • The percentage of organic farms’ total agricultural area occupied by permanent grassland is higher than for other farms in all Member States except IT, LT, RO. The proportion is very high for some countries, e.g. CZ (43%), EE (25 %), AT (23%) SK (21%) and FI (82%).
  • The high proportion of permanent grassland on organic farms reflects the typical structure of European organic farms. Eurostat data 2014 0n organic farms shows that permanent grassland represents around 46% of total organic agricultural areas in Europe, compared to around 30% of total agricultural areas.

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SOURCE: EC – DG Agriculture and Rural Development