Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Uncertainty due to the application of agricultural eco-regimes

Farmers have the potential to voluntarily benefit from eco-governances from January. The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has designated agricultural practices that are beneficial to the environment to combat climate change. For these eco-governances, 23% of its budget, about one billion euros, has been reserved.

There are nine practices to receive compensation of between 41 and 151 euros per hectare. These include grazing, direct seeding and no-tillage, maintenance of islands of biodiversity, vegetative or dormant cover, or crop rotation. And there are many farmers who have not yet decided whether they will eventually opt to take advantage of these eco-governances or eco-schemes.

Ramon Augé, the former mayor of Cervera, is one of the farmers who has already made up his mind. “I will try to inculcate the eco-governance of direct sowing (sowing without plowing the land beforehand). In arid and semi-arid regions like ours, it’s been done for years,” he says. He believes it’s the most important practice he can do “because less diesel is used and then the land If not tilled, it becomes a CO2 sink.”

Ramon Augé and Maggie Ribera in a wheat field in Cervera.

handed over

He grows barley, wheat and triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye. He also concerns crop rotation and balancing numbers as the administration requires that the practice cover 40% of the area of ​​each single crop declaration (DUN).

“In grain growing areas, it is normal for farmers to have several duns, as we take in not only our own but also other people’s land and it is difficult to fit everything in. I would be crazy to try to make it equal I have gone and I will not be sure of everything till March, when we will do DUN”, he confirmed.

Ramon’s countryman Maggie Ribera also opted for the new aid: “I have to take advantage of two ecological regimes, that of direct sowing and that of crop rotation of 50% of the surface and that means years of drought, like this, The wheat is planted in bad condition”.

Union Of Farmers Conference On The New Pac In Artesa De Segre.

Union of Farmers Conference on the new PAC in Artesa de Segre.

farmers union

Andreu Ferrer, a Unio de Pagesos technician, has been attending conferences with farmers and ranchers for months to make the most of eco-friendly practices to fight climate change: “Obviously if they have The additional cost or benefit loss that justifies it cannot exceed the loss of aid benefit”, they explain.

If producers have an additional cost or loss of profit that justifies it, the aid cannot exceed the loss of profit”

Andrew FerrerFarmers Union Technician

Raquel Serrat, producer of beef calves and horses in Ripoles and national head of beef cattle and horses at the União de Paiges, wants to follow the eco-regimes of the islands of wetlands and biodiversity, taking advantage of the management that you may not know before. Since then we do it on our farm.

Raquel Serrat

Raquel Serrat

handed over

“We are already compensating the ecosystems of the islands of biodiversity and so far we have not been compensated, the aim is conservation, especially in insects and lepidoptera, and what makes it think that we can maintain biodiversity throughout the year Let’s preserve the islands, which are islands of trees that it’s in the middle of a meadow,” he says.

He also has experience in animal husbandry. To collect the grazing bonus, you must have access for at least 120 days per year, although if weather conditions do not allow this, for example due to snow, this is reduced to 90 days.

“It is not difficult to follow because those of us who have extensive livestock already do it, we calculate that we will charge around 60 euros per hectare,” he says.

Difficulty in implementing these practices

For the national coordinator of the Unio de Pagesos, Joan Caball, the many determining factors and the many differences between the requirements between crops (rainfed or irrigated) or between extensive livestock areas and pastures, will make its application very difficult for many producers.

Cabal points out that the maintenance of cover for wood crops, and in particular, for dry olive groves, makes it necessary to maintain grass between the rows of trees, a practice that is not practiced in Catalonia.

For his part, the president of Young Farmers and Cattlemen of Catalonia, Joan Carles Massot, points out that this new PAC that is being proposed at the moment, being so sustainable, is limiting productivity.

“Justifying this part of aid in ecoregimes involves maintaining certain practices or complexity in each farmer’s or rancher’s productive system and in some cases you have to do the numbers,” he stresses.

In this sense, he cites rotation in broad crops and says that with grain prices low it is practically more feasible to leave the part of eco-governances and continue to cultivate what interests the producer the most.

“We will see the experience of this year, I think within a year or two there will be a counter-reform. We will realize that in Europe we are punishing production and this will mean that we will not have food sovereignty , which is being chased so much,” he insisted.

For the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, ecoregimes are practices that reinforce the greenest part of the CAP, with which agricultural activity takes another step towards sustainability in the use of resources and respect for the environment.

Ministry admits “some uncertainty”

For its part, the ministry speaks of “some uncertainty” about how they will operate. In the first place, they argue that they are a new measure within direct aid, which works in a similar way to agri-environmental measures, as both lines seek the application of practices that are respectful with the environment and resources and are compensatory. . “It breaks a bit the system that was set up so far and we have had to make an effort so that they do not overlap with agri-environmental support,” he says.

Secondly, it recognizes that they try to cover a wide range of practices set by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for the whole territory of Spain, which makes them far from the needs and often from the possibilities of application . of the field.

“Having said that, we must make them work and the agri-companies take advantage of it, to offset the green efforts the sector must make and because, it must be said, because the stock market is common, if our agri-companies do so If they do not, they will be funds that we will stop receiving and the annual budget for these practices is not small, it is about one billion euros in the whole state, ”says the ministry.

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