Monday, January 29, 2018

The IMprint of History on EU Farms

Politico has a piece on the EU and farm  policy:
With Brexit sapping the EU’s financial firepower, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan is under intense pressure to slash the bloc’s €59-billion-a year farm subsidies. 
In response, one of Brussels’ suggested cost-cutting measures is to set a ceiling on how much the largest farms can receive. At first glance, it’s a savvy political move that would reduce lavish payments to landed aristocrats and agricultural conglomerates. Hogan’s problem, however, is that this subsidy ceiling would also deliver a painful blow to poorer (but bigger) Eastern European farms that used to be vast cooperatives in the communist era.
Data provided by the Czech farm association show that the top 2.6 percent of the largest farms in the country manage a massive 81 percent of the country’s arable land, while breeding some 70 percent of its dairy cows.
There's a lot of variation though: Czech farms are the largest, while Poland, Hungary and Romania all are on the small end of the scale (under 10 hectares average). I think Polish farms were never collectivized, and maybe the other two?

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