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CCAT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44423
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Netherlands

Assessing European agricultural cross compliance

Cross compliance (CC) is a European construct linking EU financial support to farmers with ‘good behaviour’ regarding agricultural practices and the environment. EU-funded researchers developed a tool enabling assessment of the impacts of CC on a number of areas including productivity and prices, the environment and biodiversity to evaluate progress toward sustainable agriculture.
Assessing European agricultural cross compliance
Researchers developed the ‘Cross compliance assessment tool’ (CCAT) project to evaluate the impact of standards and compliance on a number of fields including agricultural markets, producer’s income, land use, soil, water, air, climate, biodiversity, landscapes, and animal and public health. The tool enabled assessment of CC effects given various implementation scenarios and specific national and regional conditions.

Overall, CC impacted economic indicators more than biodiversity and landscape indicators. The costs of becoming compliant were only partially compensated by market effects. Nevertheless, total costs were minimal. Divergent economic effects were observed for crops compared to animal farming. The crops sector was rather unaffected by CC with prices and production remaining relatively constant. CC led to a decrease in production and an increase in prices within the animal sector.

Environmentally, CC resulted in only limited reductions in agricultural pollutant emissions.

In general, CC impacts on biodiversity and landscape were small although biodiversity intensity changes varied regionally depending on factors such as High Nature Value (HNV) farmland and types of wild species in the area. Specific trends in livestock and land-use intensities were identified.

Continued improvements enabling effective weighting of scores by considering factors such as number of legislative measures enacted in the region or its share of Natura 2000 habitats (European network of protected nature areas) will further enhance the usefulness of the CCAT. Nevertheless, the method has proved a powerful tool to explore the effectiveness of CC measures across the EU and thus Europe’s progress toward sustainable and competitive farming.

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