Press Releases, Policy&Business Briefs and Short Communications

Press Releases, Policy Briefs, Business Briefs and Short Communications will be issued throughout the project to bring readers closer to relevant research in SURE-Farm and suggest possible policy options and business strategies. 

Business Brief on opportunities for improved risk management for EU agriculture

EU farming systems are facing increasing economic, social, environmental and institutional challenges. Finding the opportunities to improve risk management contributes to enhancing the farming systems’ resilience. Based on the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders across European agricultural sectors, four main avenues to improve risk management are proposed: 1) Useful, accessible and well-structured information; 2) Professional, adapted and widespread training and advice and boosted knowledge transfer; 3) Developing and spreading new forms of cooperation among farming system actors; and 4) New/ improved products and services adapted to current and future needs of the farming systems. Not only farmers, farmers’ households and associations but also value chain actors, financial institutions, NGOs and public administration are encouraged to be part of the opportunities to improve risk management towards resilient farming systems.

Policy brief on farmer adaptive behaviour and risk management in EU agriculture

Risk and risk management are essential elements of agriculture and affect the wellbeing of farm households. Farmers react to production, market and institutional risks and challenges by taking measures on or off the farm. Such risk management measures are often costly and have implications for up- and downstream industries as well as the environment. The risk exposure of European farms is increasing. For example, climate change will increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events like droughts, heatwaves and heavy rainfalls that potentially have detrimental effects on agricultural production. Thus, the adaptive capacity and risk management options in European agriculture need to be improved. Policy shall support this process. Policies are needed to support a diversity of risk management solutions and not only focus on a few solutions. Strategies to cope with risk often go beyond the level of the individual farm. Cooperation, learning and sharing of risks play a vital role in European agriculture and shall be strengthened. Thus, coordinated policies targeting beyond the individual farm and considering all the stakeholders involved in the risk management strategies are needed to ensure their effective implementation. Moreover, policies need to facilitate to take full advantage of the rapid technological progress and improved data availability (e.g. based on satellite imagery) to develop a wider set of risk management strategies.

Policy Brief on farm demographics and impacts on farm structure

For a resilient farming system, smooth and sufficient intergenerational renewal is crucial, and it has been defined as one of nine goals for the CAP post-2020. Before implementing specific policy measures and instruments, however, policy makers must determine the degree and nature of the generational renewal problem that needs to be addressed. Also, policies need to focus on increasing the attractiveness of farming as an occupation and lifestyle, as many non-entry decisions are made before measures aimed at the young farmer start to play a role. Further policy directions include increasing the mobility of land and labour, supporting the management of extreme calamities as they involve a great risk of exit and non-entry and facilitating the provision of personal and farm-specific advice and coaching. The power and responsibility of national and regional governments to address these issues is often underestimated and overlooked.

Farm demographic and structural change across Europe

At the EU-wide level, there is a constant decrease in the number of farms, an increase in average farm size and a decrease of overall work force in agriculture. Farms tend to become more specialized, and family farms dominate the EU agricultural landscape. Besides that, the share of older farmers is increasing while the share of young farmers is decreasing. However, a study across a diversity of European farming systems shows that these general trends and their future direction depend on regional specificities related to agro-ecological zoning, socio-economic characteristics, environmental challenges, institutional and cultural embedding and embedding in the value chain. The obtained similarities/contrasts in sector and regional specificities from the cross case-study comparison should allow to learn from differences and inspire local government to tailor their policies to specific situations.

Policy Brief on Resilience Framework

To achieve its objectives in a changing world, the Common Agricultural Policy needs to put the resilience of Europe’s farming systems at its center. The current CAP focuses on making the farming community more robust against shocks in the short run. However, a broader view on resilience is needed to ensure a sustainable agricultural sector in the longer term. This new vision should pay sufficient attention to developing the capacities of both individual farms and farming systems to adapt to changing circumstances and to transform their business models where necessary to maintain the delivery of food, fiber, energy and public goods in the long run.

Press Release on Resilience Framework

A resilience-oriented CAP needs to address robustness, adaptability and transformability of agriculture Resilience of the agricultural sector is an important aim of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Most often, resilience is focused on stimulating robustness, with policy and market instruments aimed at maintaining the stability of the farm business. However, a group of European scientists argues that this is too narrow a way of looking at resilience. They state that while robustness contributes to agricultural development, the current higher risk environment also requires other types of capacity in food and agribusiness: namely adaptability and transformability. Translated into 11 languages in