A new generation of tech-savvy, data-hungry young farmers have reinvented large-scale agriculture and rediscovered small scale farming. By analyzing data gathered from sensors, tractors and satellites, today’s farmers are able to track crop health, make planting decisions and guide fertilizer use to improve the efficiency of their businesses like never before.
Technology is revolutionizing farming. That’s great news – by the year 2050 Earth’s population will be 10 billion, so we need to almost double the amount of food we now produce.
This approach – known as precision agriculture – has been especially helpful in tackling fertilizer loss, a particular concern for farmers, as nitrogen fertilizer is one of their biggest expenses. It’s also a major contributor to water pollution and climate change.
Rediscovering and Reinventing small scale farming
Harnessing the market for lasting change
A cornerstone of this new strategy is equipping farmers with the tools that work. Farmers face mounting regulatory and market pressure to make their operations more sustainable, and technology is creating new economic and environmental opportunities for agriculture.
How can we grow more food with less pollution?
Our agriculture and land use initiatives focus on securing a sustainable, productive food supply that also supports a resilient environment.
Environmental sustainability in the CAP
The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has three clear environmental goals, each of which are echoed in the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy:
- tackling climate change;
- protecting natural resources;
- enhancing biodiversity. Biodiversity Strategy 2030
Agriculture Down to Earth
Each of these goals are supported by the CAP’s promotion of organic farming and the responsible management of inputs like pesticides and fertilisers.
EU Green Deal
The CAP aims to reach its environmental goals in a way that is socially and economically sustainable for farmers, rural communities, and the EU as a whole.
Environmental measures in the CAP
Measures that encourage green farming and enforce environmental rules form a central part of the CAP:
- cross-compliance standards link financial support to EU rules on the environment, as well as human, plant and animal health;
- green direct payments put in place mandatory actions (maintaining permanent grassland, crop diversity and ecological focus areas), each geared towards protecting the environment and tackling climate change;
- rural development policy supports investments and farming activities that contribute to climate action and the sustainable management of natural resources.
The future CAP
The future CAP will take further steps towards achieving a green and sustainable system of agriculture in the EU. It will include:
- a more simplified, flexible, and targeted approach;
- strengthened environmental conditions and standards to be met by farmers;
- an expanded set of voluntary environmental actions available to farmers, through eco-schemes and rural development policy.