Green Payments in U.S. and European Union Agricultural Policy
CRS Report for Congress
Green Payments in U.S. and European Union
Updated November 22, 2005
Charles E. Hanrahan
Senior Specialist in Agricultural Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
Resources, Science and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Green Payments in U.S. and European Union
Green payments are generally defined as payments made to agricultural
producers as compensation for environmental benefits that accrue at levels beyond
what producers might otherwise achieve under existing market and regulatory
conditions. They may support both environmental and farm income objectives.
Modern U.S. agri-environmental programs began in 1985 by paying farmers to
retire land and limiting conversion of wetlands and highly erodible land to
cultivation, thereby reducing negative environmental effects associated with
production agriculture. These initial programs focused on a single agricultural
benefit, limiting erosion. Since then, these programs have proliferated in number and
overall funding, and now pay farmers to provide additional conservation benefits
either while maintaining agricultural production on working lands, or by retiring land
from production. These environmental benefits include stemming wetland loss and
wildlife habitat deterioration, protecting farmland from conversion to other uses, and
improving water and air quality. The Conservation Security Program (CSP), enacted
in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171) is the most recent step in the evolution of U.S.
agri-environmental policy. CSP pays producers to capture environmental benefits
across their entire agricultural operation, while producing commodities. It has been
characterized by some as the most comprehensive U.S. “green payments” program.
General environmental policy in the European Union (EU) deals with negative
externalities from water pollution, nitrates, and pesticides, among other issues, and
also affects agricultural production. EU farm policy since 1985, however, has
included payments to farmers to compensate for costs incurred or income forgone
from undertaking agri-environmental measures that meet farm policy and rural
development objectives. Such measures include, inter alia, reducing use of fertilizer
and chemical inputs, adopting organic production methods, maintaining countryside
and landscape, or managing land for leisure activities or public access. Successive
reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have placed greater
emphasis on such green payments — and increased funding for them — as agri-
environmental measures have been integrated into a broad rural development policy.
Congressional interest in green payments today is driven by pressure from
international trade negotiations and the anticipated development of the next farm bill,
which will likely contain the U.S. policy responses to the results of these
negotiations. These negotiations create considerable uncertainty over future farm
program options, and green payments, in some fashion, are widely viewed as an
option that could be designed so as to satisfy both international obligations and
domestic agriculture constituencies. Differences between the United States and the
EU in how green payments have been defined and translated into policy and
programs may make consideration of EU agri-environmental policy as a model or
source of ideas problematic. This report, which compares current U.S. and EU
efforts in the area of green payments, will be updated.
What Are Green Payments?..........................................1
U.S. Agri-Environmental Policy......................................2
Voluntary Agri-Environmental Programs...........................4
Land Retirement Programs..................................4
Working Lands Programs...................................5
Outlook for U.S. Financing of Agri-Environmental Measures...........7
EU Agri-Environmental Policy.......................................9
General EU Environmental Policy and Agriculture....................9
Habitats and Wild Birds (The Natura Network).................10
Agri-Environmental Programs in the CAP.........................10
The Less Favored Area Program (LFA).......................11
The “Efficiency” Regulations...............................11
Agri-Environmental Measures in the 1992 CAP Reform..............12
Agri-Environmental Programs in Agenda 2000.....................14
2003 CAP Reforms and Agri-Environmental Programs...............14
Cross-Compliance with Agri-Environmental Measures...........15
Assistance to Farmers in Meeting Standards....................15
Support for Implementing Natura (2000)......................16
Increased EU Co-Financing for Agri-Environment
(and Animal Welfare).................................16
Increased Support for LFAs.................................16
Additional Financing for Rural Development Policy (Modulation)......16
EU Spending on Agri-Environmental Measures.....................17
Some Concluding Observations..................................18
List of Tables
Table 1. Measures of Selected U.S. Agri-Environment Programs............8
Table 2. Good Agricultural and Environmental Practices.................15
Table 3. Proposed Budget Commitments for the CAP, Rural Development,
and Total EU Spending........................................17
Table 4. Comparison of Current U.S. and EU Agri-Environmental Policies...20
Green Payments in U.S. and
European Union Agricultural Policy
What Are Green Payments?
Green payments generally are defined as payments to agricultural producers for
providing environmental services on working farms. They are designed to encourage
producers to provide more environmental services than they might otherwise provide1
in the absence of the payments, and they are not connected to a producer’s level of
In the United States, the term “green payments” refers to agricultural programs
with primarily environmental goals. Although all U.S. “green payments” programs
focus on the environment, the types of payments range from cost-sharing for specific
conservation practices to incentives for whole-farm management of environmental
resources and rewards for “good actors” for past environmental stewardship. This
discussion will review U.S. green payments within the context of modern U.S. agri-
environmental policy, which is evolving from programs focusing primarily on land
retirement to programs encouraging sound environmental management on working
The European Union (EU) views green payments more broadly than does the
United States, using them to achieve socioeconomic and rural development goals as
well as environmental goals. The EU makes agri-environmental (green) payments to
farmers within the framework of its rural development policy, which encompasses
not only environmental activities but also investments to modernize farms, programs
to help young farmers get established or promote early retirement, assistance with
processing and marketing farm products, and programs to promote the non-farm rural
economy such as agri-tourism or preservation of cultural heritage. This discussion
of EU green payments will focus primarily on agri-environmental measures that
compensate farmers who take measures to enhance the environmental benefits from
farming, but not other aspects of the EU’s rural development policy.
The following review of green payments and agri-environmental policy in the
United States and the European Union shows that they have become an important
aspect of agricultural policy (although green payments are only one tool of agri-2
environmental programs). Forces at work in the global economy could tend to
1 Sandra S. Batie and Richard E. Horan, “Green Payments Policy,” at [http://www.aec.msu.
edu/agecon/smith_endowment/documents/outlaw4.pdf], visited May 27, 2004.
2 Other methods used in agri-environmental programs to encourage producers to adopt sound
environmental practices include regulating pesticide use, targeting program funds to areas
of particular environmental need, and setting standards for environmental performance as
increase the role of green payments as a component of agricultural support. For
example, in multilateral agricultural trade negotiations, pressures are mounting to
curtail trade- and production-distorting support for domestic agriculture.3 Green
payments are thought by many to be less trade- and production-distorting than other
forms of domestic support for agriculture.4 In the future, U.S. producers and
policymakers may focus more attention on the role of green payment programs in
agricultural policy as a vehicle for supporting agriculture and rural areas that would
be less susceptible to cuts resulting from multilateral trade negotiations.
U.S. Agri-Environmental Policy
The United States has implemented agri-environmental policies since the 1930s,
when the Dust Bowl spurred Congress to enact laws providing financial, technical,
and educational assistance to farmers to encourage the adoption of soil conservation
practices. All assistance is provided to voluntary participants, as is designed to
benefit individual farms. Today, the United States employs two main types of agri-
environmental policy tools: mandatory cross-compliance mechanisms for those
producers who receive federal farm program benefits and voluntary incentives.
Voluntary incentives have been dominant in U.S. agri-environmental policy, and are
viewed by most agriculture interests as being central to efforts to improve the
environmental performance of producers. The few regulatory federal laws affecting
agriculture include the use of restrictions and bans on certain pesticides, but these5
have been fairly limited in number and are not a topic of this report.
a requirement for certain agricultural payments. Economic Research Service, Agri-
Environmental Policy at the Crossroads, ERS Rept. No. 794, 2001, p. 7.
3 CRS Report RL33144, WTO Doha Round: Agricultural Negotiating Proposals, by Charles
Hanrahan and Randy Schnepf, discusses the status of proposals in multilateral trade
negotiations to reduce trade-distorting domestic support to agriculture.
4 The World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (1994)
exempts from reduction commitments payments under environmental programs that meet
the following conditions: (a) eligibility for such payments shall be determined as part of a
clearly defined government environmental or conservation program and be dependent on the
fulfillment of specific conditions under the government program, including conditions
related to production methods or inputs; and (b) the amount of payment shall be limited to
the extra costs or loss of income involved in complying with the government program.
5 Roger Claassen et al., Agri-Environmental Policy at the Crossroads: Guideposts on a
Changing Landscape, Agricultural Economic Report Number 794, Economic Research
Service, January 2001, Appendix 1. Major federal programs include mandates for states to
deal with agricultural nonpoint pollution, under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization
Amendments of 1990; prohibitions against taking a member of a threatened or endangered
species, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973; regulation of pesticides under the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1947; and regulation of concentrated
animal feeding operations under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (also
known as the Clean Water Act) .
In general, U.S. agri-environmental programs include few compulsory
environmental requirements when compared to EU programs. U.S. cross-compliance
programs aim to discourage farmers from converting wetlands into farmland and
from farming highly erodible land (unless the land is protected by implementing an
approved conservation plan from excessive soil erosion). A producer must comply
with these programs to receive federal commodity price and income support, to
participate in federal voluntary conservation programs, and to be eligible for federal
agriculture loans or loan-related guarantees and other agriculture-related federal
benefits.6 Farmers who do not comply may still farm, but are ineligible for these
substantial government benefits. It is estimated that about 50% of the country’s 2
million farmers currently receive federal farm program benefits; those who do not
receive these benefits are not affected by cross compliance, as currently designed.
U.S. cross-compliance mechanisms, first enacted in the Food Security Act of
1985 (P.L. 99-198), include Highly Erodible Land Conservation (also known as
“Conservation Compliance” and “Sodbuster”) and Wetland Conservation (called
“Swampbuster”).7 Land is defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service
as “highly erodible” when it may erode at (or at more than) eight times the “soil loss
tolerance level” (this is the rate at which soil can erode without losing its productivity
over time). Much of this highly erodible land is located in the Great Plains states.
Conservation Compliance. Under this program, farmers producing
agricultural commodities on highly erodible land that was cropped from 1981 to 1985
must implement an approved conservation plan. The plan must provide for a 75%
reduction in erosion as compared to the land’s previous erosion rates. Almost all
affected producers are currently considered to be in compliance.
Sodbuster. Under this program, producers who plow erosion-prone grasslands
(that were not cropped from 1981 to 1985) must implement a conservation plan that
holds erosion to no more than the soil loss tolerance level.
Swampbuster. Under this program, producers converting a wetland area to
cropland may lose eligibility for several federal farm program benefits, although there
are many exceptions in statute (such as wetland conversions that have little effect on8
6 Economic Research Service, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators,
Chapter 6.3, p. 1, at [http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/arei/ah722/arei6_3/AREI6_
7 Food Security Act of 1985, PL 99-198, 99 Stat. 1504, as amended, Subtitles B and C.
8 Program descriptions modified from CRS Report 97-905, Agriculture: A Glossary of
Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition, by Jasper Womach.
Voluntary Agri-Environmental Programs
The majority of U.S. agri-environmental programs are voluntary in nature and
are funded by mandatory spending through the Commodity Credit Corporation
(CCC). They are known as either “farm bill” programs or “Title II programs”
because they are authorized by the farm bill, a multi-year act authorizing federal
commodity, farm support, and agricultural conservation programs, as well as other
farm sector-related provisions, and these provisions were in Title II of the most recent
farm bill.9 U.S. voluntary agri-environmental programs have evolved from
emphasizing land retirement to encouraging the adoption of best management
practices on working farmland. The following paragraphs describe selected and
larger U.S. voluntary agri-environmental programs in the order they were enacted.
Table 1, below after these short descriptions, conveys some sense of the scale of
each program. For additional basic information on these and the numerous other
smaller conservation programs, see CRS Report RL32940, Agriculture Conservation
Programs: A Scorecard, by Jeffrey Zinn and Tadlock Cowan, and for additional
information on the history of funding for these programs, see CRS Report RS22243,
Mandatory Funding for Agriculture Conservation Programs, by Jeffrey Zinn.
Land Retirement Programs. These programs involve retiring land from
crop production under the terms and conditions of the program contract in exchange
for annual payments. They are precursors to “green payments” programs in that they
are the first modern voluntary agricultural programs to base eligibility, in part or in
whole, on an ability to provide environmental benefits.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) (1985). CRP, administered by
the Farm Service Agency, is the largest private land retirement program, with an
enrollment ceiling of 39.2 million acres, and the largest “farm bill” agri-
environmental program in terms of annual spending (CBO estimates the program to
cost more than $2.0 billion annually starting in FY2005).10 Farmers may submit bids
to “enroll” land in CRP for 10-15 years. The CRP’s original aim was not only to
reduce soil erosion but also to protect soil productivity, control surplus production,
and stabilize land prices (which were declining in the mid 1980s). CRP now has a
broader environmental focus. Since 1990, FSA has evaluated bids to enroll land in
CRP based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) score, which reflects the
impact enrollment would have on various environmental measures (ground water and
9 The relevant farm bills were enacted in 1985 (P.L. 99-198), 1990 (P.L. 101-624), 1996
(P.L. 104-127), and 2002 (P.L. 107-171). The 1985 law serves as the basis for modern agri-
environmental policy; the other three laws amend the 1985 law.
10 CRP has its roots in the 1950s-era Soil Bank program, which had twin goals of controlling
agricultural production and reducing soil erosion by idling up to 30 million acres of land
producing surplus commodities.
This and subsequent program cost estimates are from the Congressional Budget Office
January 2005 baseline. By way of comparison, CRP is almost twice as expensive as the next
most costly FY2005 conservation program, EQIP ($1.017 billion).
surface water quality, wind erosion, wildlife habitat, etc).11 CRP also includes a
number of subprograms, the most visible of which is the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program or CREP. CREPs are developed by states who contribute
additional funds so that higher payments can be offered to retire additional land in
environmentally sensitive watersheds.12
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) (1990). WRP, administered by the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provides long-term protection to
agricultural wetlands by requiring participants to implement approved wetland
restoration and protection plans. Most lands enrolled in WRP are flood-prone
agricultural lands. Because the goal is long-term wetland restoration, most land is
enrolled under a permanent easement or a 30-year easement. (Land may also be
enrolled for ten years without any easement.) The 2002 farm bill set an enrollment
limit of 2.275 million acres, with a goal of enrolling 250,000 acres in any given year.
Working Lands Programs. New programs for working farms were created,
in part, because land retirement programs did not address many of the environmental
problems stemming from ongoing agricultural production. These programs provide
payments to farmers for increased environmental services on working lands (“green
payments”). Below is a description of four of the largest working lands programs,
all administered by NRCS. The newest of these, the Conservation Security Program,
targets environmental problems on farms, while the others aim to create habitat or
preserve especially valuable farmland. These programs have been very popular with
farmers. While they each received substantial funding increases in the 2002 farm
bill, requests to participate have continued to far outpace available funding, resulting
in a large backlog.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) (1996). EQIP has
been described as the first major U.S. “green payments” program specifically
designed to pay farmers for environmental benefits while allowing continued
agricultural production.13 It is also the second-largest agri-environmental program
in terms of funding ($1.017 billion in FY2006). EQIP provides cost-sharing and
technical assistance for implementing specific conservation measures (such as
installing buffer strips near streams) to remedy environmental problems on farms
and may also provide incentive payments, all to encourage producers to adopt certain
practices, so producers can keep lands in production rather than retiring them. NRCS
distributes funds at the national level based on national environmental priorities,
including reduction of nonpoint source pollution, reduction of air pollution and
control of soil erosion. Each state determines how to allocate the funds it receives,
based on its own environmental priorities. EQIP is the only large conservation
11 Farm Service Agency, Conservation Reserve Program: Final Environmental Impact
Statement, Chapter 3 (2003).
12 For more information on the CRP, see CRS Report RS21613, Conservation Reserve
Program: Status and Current Issues, by Barbara Johnson.
13 Karen Klonsky and Florence Jacquet, “How Well do Green Payments Fit into the Green
Box?” Paper presented at the International Conference Agricultural Policy Reform and the
WTO: Where Are We Heading?, Capri, Italy, June 23-26, 2003, accessed at [http://www.
ecostat.unical.it/2003agtradeconf/], June 16, 2004.
program targeted to livestock production, as 60% of the funds each year must be
spent on practices that address associated problems, such as waste management.14
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) (1996). WHIP provides
cost-sharing to landowners to develop or restore wildlife habitat on their agricultural
operations. In exchange, landowners voluntarily limit incompatible activities on the
land. WHIP targets at-risk species, declining habitats, and conservation practices that
are ineligible for other agricultural conservation program funds (e.g., fish passages).
Agreements range from 5 years to 15 years or more in duration. Funding is
distributed to states; each state ranks applications from landowners and sets local
wildlife habitat priorities. State ranking criteria include items such as proximity to
protected wildlife habitat, projected longevity of habitat created, and cost per acre.
Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) (1996). FRPP
helps farmers keep their land in production by providing matching funds to state,
tribal, local, or non-governmental organizations that have existing farmland
protection programs to purchase permanent conservation easements from willing
sellers. The easements usually restrict non-farm development and subdivisions on
the land, although the landowner retains the right to farm the land. The landowner
must also implement a conservation plan to reduce soil erosion on any highly
erodible land. NRCS state officials decide which applications to fund, and each state
has an FRPP plan detailing the degree of development pressure, acreage of land to
be protected, acreage of land lost, and other program indicators.
Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) (2002). The GRP targets grasslands
containing forbs15 or shrubs, especially areas that historically have been grasslands
and have potential to provide habitat for animal or plant populations of significant
ecological value. GRP also targets grasslands threatened with conversion to other
uses. GRP offers landowners a choice of easements (lasting 30 years or permanently)
or rental agreements (lasting 10 to 30 years). In exchange, landowners protect and,
if necessary, restore grasslands in accordance with an NRCS restoration agreement.
GRP has a total funding limit of $254 million and a total enrollment limit of 2
million acres between FY2003 and FY2007.
Conservation Security Program (CSP) (2002). CSP rewards producers
who proactively conserve environmental resources across their entire agricultural
operation, and encourages them to integrate whole-farm planning. This is in contrast
to EQIP, which helps producers address existing environmental problems. This
contrast has caused some analysts to characterize CSP as the most comprehensive
U.S. “green payments” program. The eligibility criteria for CSP reward a producer’s
historic record of conservation and provide incentives to do more conservation in the
future. It uses a three-tiered system that rewards increased levels of conservation on
enrolled lands with increased payments. For the lowest level — protecting one
natural resource on part of their operation — producers may earn up to $20,000
14 For more information on the EQIP, see CRS Report RS22040, Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP): Status and Issues, by Carol Canada and Jeffrey Zinn.
15 Forbs are also known as weeds or wildflowers. They provide important forage and seeds
for wildlife, as well as cover and protection from predators.
annually, while for the highest level — protecting all natural resources on all of their
operation — producers may earn up to $45,000 annually.
Although CSP was designed to be a true entitlement and widely available for
many types of agricultural operations, the Bush Administration is implementing the
program with additional eligibility criteria designed to reward only the highest levels
of conservation, and only in designated watersheds (which change from year to year).
Congress has contributed to the limitations by repeatedly reprogramming funds that
had been destined for CSP to other purposes such as disaster relief, according to the
Congressional Budget Office. The first signup was held in FY2004, and CSP
supporters see a large potential for this program if adequate funding is made
avai l abl e. 16
Outlook for U.S. Financing of Agri-Environmental Measures
The U.S. voluntary agri-environmental programs noted above — the so-called
“farm bill” programs — received dramatic increases in funding authority in the 2002
farm bill. At the time of enactment, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
estimated the 2002 farm bill would increase overall spending for conservation and
environmental programs by 80%.17 These increases have not been fully realized,
however, because some of the increases authorized in the 2002 farm bill were
subsequently cut in annual appropriations.18 Additional reductions can be anticipated
as Congress and the Administration respond to budget pressures, including the costs
of the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina at home, and projected deficits. For more
information on the authorized amounts for these programs annually since FY2003,
and reductions proposed by the administration or enacted by Congress, see CRS
Report RS22243, Mandatory Funding for Agriculture Conservation Programs, by
16 For more information on the CSP, see CRS Report RS21740, Implementing the
Conservation Security Program, by Barbara A. Johnson.
17 Based on CBO’s April 2002 baseline. Source: Economic Research Service, [http://www.
ers.usda.gov/features/farmbill/analysis/conservationoverview.htm], accessed September 16,
18 Although changes in mandatory programs usually require changes in authorizing
legislation, appropriators (who deal with discretionary funds) frequently limit mandatory
funding in annual appropriations bills. This provides savings that appropriators can use to
increase funding for discretionary programs. “Savings” are relative to a mandatory
program’s budget score, as calculated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Table 1. Measures of Selected U.S. Agri-Environment Programs
ProgramFundingMeasures of Activity
ConservationFY2005:$1.937 billion35.8 million acres were enrolled as
ReserveFY2006 (auth):39.2 mil. of Oct. 2005. A total of 2.0 million
acres (no dollar amount)acres were signed up during FY2004
FY2006 (est): $2.020and 468,000 acres were signed up
billionduring FY2005. In last general
signup, 1.7 million acres were
offered and 1.2 million acres were
accepted. Includes several small,
more targeted components.
WetlandsFY2005:154,000 acres1.63 million acres were enrolled by
ReserveFY2006 (auth.): 250,000 Jan. 2005, with permanent
acres (no dollar amount)easements on 80% of that total. In
FY2006 (est): 150,000FY2004, 3 acres were offered for
acresevery acre accepted. Includes
several small, more targeted
EnvironmentaFY2005: $1.017 billionParticipants install structural,
l QualityFY2006 (auth): $1.20 vegetative, and land management
Incentivesbillionpractices. About 77% of the funds
FY2006 (est): $1.017go to producers and 23% pays for
billiontechnical assistance. In FY2004,
only 42% of the 113,485
applications were funded because
demand greatly exceeded available
WildlifeFY2005: $47 millionThrough FY2004, more than 2.8
HabitatFY2006 (auth): $85 millionmillion acres had been enrolled. In
IncentivesFY2006 (est): $43 millionFY2004, 3,012 contracts were
signed affecting 432,000 acres.
FarmlandFY2005: $112 millionThrough FY2004, almost $265
ProtectionFY2006 (auth): $100million had been obligated to
millionacquire 870 easements on almost
FY2006 (est): $74 million178,000 acres in 37 states; 959
additional easements are pending on
more than 209,000 acres in every
GrasslandsFY2005: $128 millionAll authorized funding ($254
ReserveFY2006 (auth): $0million) was spent by the end of
FY2006 (est): $0FY2005, so there is no additional
funding in FY2006. In FY2004,
283,000 acres were enrolled under
ConservationFY2005: $202 millionIn FY2004, 2,200 producers in 18
SecurityFY2006 (auth): $331watersheds were enrolled; in
million FY2005, 12,500 producers in 220
FY2006 (est): $259 millionwatersheds were enrolled; in
FY2006, 110 watershed will be
EU Agri-Environmental Policy
In the EU, the relationship between agriculture, the environment, and
development of rural areas has found expression in the concept of multifunctionality.
Farmers are viewed as producing not only food and agricultural products, but also
positive environmental and other benefits (externalities). Agri-environmental policy
focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on promoting positive externalities associated
with agricultural production. These include, among others, landscape, rural
amenities, and cultural heritage. The premise underlying agri-environmental policy
is that these externalities are public goods that are undervalued by the market and
therefore require social or public funding to induce farmers to produce them. More
broadly, the EU maintains that support of commodity production and farm incomes
that also engenders these positive externalities is also justified. Critics of the
concept argue that multifunctionality is intended to justify substantial income support
for farmers and that support for the public goods produced by agriculture should be
specifically targeted. In addition to meeting desirable social goals, EU agricultural
policymakers view shifting funds from commodity support to rural development,
including agri-environmental programs, as being more compatible with multilateral
efforts in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to curb domestic support, while19
maintaining support that is not, or is at most minimally, trade-distorting.
Since 1985, agri-environmental (green) payments as defined above have been
available to EU farmers. Successive reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP) in 1992, 2000, and 2003 have placed increasing emphasis on green
payments to meet farm policy and social objectives. In the process, agri-
environmental measures have become more integrally a part of the CAP.
General EU Environmental Policy and Agriculture
Beginning in the 1970s, the EU issued a number of directives outlining
measures to deal with water pollution, nitrates, pesticides, and habitats and wild
birds. Although these initiatives were important to agriculture, they were taken as
part of the EU’s general environmental policy, outside the framework of the CAP.
These environmental regulations, as of January 1, 2005, became the basis of so-
called “statutory environmental management requirements” with which EU farmers
must comply in order to be eligible for direct income support under the recently
reformed CAP (discussed below). These general environmental regulations cover the
Water Protection. A series of directives enumerate undesirable or dangerous
substances and establish standards for protecting water sources and/or safeguard20
19 See Batie and Horan, cited above.
20 The principal water protection directive is Council Directive 80/68/EEC , December 17,
1980, on the protection of groundwater against pollution caused by certain dangerous
Nitrates. The nitrate directive aims to reduce water pollution caused by nitrates
from agricultural sources by requiring member states to implement action programs
in areas identified as being vulnerable to pollution. Among other requirements, the
directive limits the application of manure to 170 kg of nitrogen per hectare.21
Pesticides. A number of directives, issued from 1976 to the early 1990s, aim
to reduce the public health risks associated with the use of plant protection products.
These directives establish and regulate maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides
for various products, including fruits and vegetables, cereals, and livestock
products.22 Other directives deal with harmonization of various national regulations
concerning conditions, arrangements, and procedures related to the classification,
packaging and labeling of pesticides, and with registration and control of sales of
Habitats and Wild Birds (The Natura Network). These directives aim to
protect natural habitats of wild fauna and flora and to protect wild birds in their
habitats.23 Member states have to take the necessary measures to achieve these aims
and to notify protected areas to the European Commission. Most of the designated
areas are in agricultural or wooded areas created and maintained by farming or other
Agri-Environmental Programs in the CAP
Environmental objectives initially were omitted from the CAP, which was
conceived primarily as a policy to support the operation of agricultural commodity
markets for the benefit of farmers and consumers. However, the CAP did include an
objective with respect to “structural” aspects of agriculture (e.g., farm size, farm
population characteristics, farm organizations, investment in production or marketing
facilities, or regional disparities), which served subsequently as a legal (and financial)
framework for agri-environmental measures.
Until 1992 (see below), agri-environmental measures were financed from a
separate structural fund, the Guidance Section of the European Agricultural
Guarantee and Guidance Fund (EAGGF), while commodity support was financed
from the Guarantee Section. Guidance funds averaged about 10% of the total
funding of the CAP (around EUR 4 billion); agri-environmental programs were only
a small portion of total Guidance spending. As structural measures, pre-1992 agri-
substances (OJ L 20, 26.1.1980, p. 43). In this and subsequent footnotes referring to EU
regulations, OJ refers to the Official Journal of the EU.
21 Council Directive 91/676/EEC of December 12, 1991, concerning the protection of waters
against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources (OJ L 375, 31.12.1991, p. 1).
22 Pesticide use on fruits and vegetables is covered by Council Directive 76/895/EE (L 340,
and animal products by Council Directive 86/363/EEC ( OJ L 221, 7.8.86, p. 43)
23 Council Directive 92/43/EEC (OJ L 206, 22.7.92, p. 7) and Council Directive
environmental programs that meet the general definition of green payments used in
this memo were co-financed on a 50-50 basis by the EU and member states, although
the percentage of EU financing could be larger for projects in poorer regions. These
programs, which are now incorporated into the EU’s rural development policy,
provide compensation to farmers for undertaking specific agri-environmental
measures. Among the programs are the following.
The Less Favored Area Program (LFA).24 The LFA targets farmers in
mountainous areas, areas threatened with abandonment, and other areas where
agriculture is deemed necessary for the conservation or improvement of the
environment, management of landscape, promotion of tourism, or protection of
coastlines. Farmers in these areas can receive payments aimed at compensating the
costs and income losses resulting from implementation of environmental or
conservation measures. Member states identify the zones and implement the
programs in their national territories. LFA payments were fixed at EUR 200 per
The “Efficiency” Regulations.25 As indicated by their designation, these
regulations were aimed at improving the efficient development of the agricultural
sector. The regulations encouraged, for example, the creation of agricultural
associations and the formation of groups of farmers to promote common use of
equipment in farming operations. It also introduced the possibility for member states
to make payments to farmers for environmentally friendly farming practices. Such
payments were subject to rules intended to prevent them from becoming national
subsidies of a competition-distorting nature. However, financing was by member
states only. Without EU funds, the regulations were not attractive to many member
states. As a result, only four countries (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the
United Kingdom) implemented agri-environmental programs under the efficiency
Organic Farming.26 These regulations encourage farmers to engage in this
type of production, which is deemed beneficial and environmentally friendly because
of its emphasis on less intensive land use, exclusion of chemical inputs, and use of
conserving practices. The EU legislation establishes principles and rules to be
followed on production, processing, labeling, and imports of organically produced
products. They provide for inspection and control of the process at all stages in order
to verify that organic methods have been used. Incentive payments are available to
farmers who participate voluntarily in organic farming, and participants may receive
annual payments for up to five years and up to a maximum of EUR 3,000 per holding
24 Council Directive 75/268/EEC of 28.4.1975, OJ L 1289, 19.5.1975, p. 1
25 Council Regulation 797/85 of 12.3.1985 (OJ L 93, 30.3.1985, p. 1) and Council
Regulation 2328/91 of 15.7.1991 (OJ L 218, 6.8.1991, p. 1)
26 Council Regulation 2092/91 (OJ L 198, 22.7.91, p. 1) and Commission Regulation (EC)
Agri-Environmental Measures in the 1992 CAP Reform
The EU undertook a major reform of the CAP in 1992. The major aims of the
reform were to reduce market surpluses, make agricultural products more competitive
in world markets, secure farmers’ incomes, and conform the CAP to anticipated
WTO rules and disciplines with respect to domestic support. The essential element
of the reform was to reduce price supports to farmers, while making direct payments
to farmers to compensate them for loss of income due to price reductions. At the
same time, the reform gave additional emphasis to agri-environmental measures.
Agri-environmental measures were dealt with in two ways in the 1992 CAP
reform. First, some agri-environmental measures were included in commodity
support programs; second, specific agri-environmental measures were introduced as
measures “accompanying” the market reforms. Examples of the former include
compulsory set-asides for large farmers, primarily to manage supplies but also to
foster the rotational release and recovery of arable land; limits on stocking density
(per holding or per hectare) in order to qualify for payments; extensification
premiums for further reducing stocking density per hectare; and payments to fruit and
vegetable producers made contingent on the adoption of environmentally sound
The three accompanying measures in the 1992 CAP reform were:
!agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements
of the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the
!early retirement from farming;28 and
!afforestation of agricultural land.29
For the agri-environmental accompanying measures, assistance, in the form of
payments, would be made to farmers or herders who voluntarily participated in
!reduce the use of fertilizers and chemical inputs;
!introduce or continue with organic farming methods
!change production methods toward or maintain extensification of
!reduce the number of animals per forage unit;
!maintain the countryside and landscape and generally promote bio-
!ensure the upkeep of abandoned farmland or woodlands;
27 Council Regulation (EEC)2078/92 of 30.6.1992 (OJ L 215 30.7.92, p. 85), as amended
by Commission Regulation (EC)2772/95 (OJ L 288, 1.12.1995, p. 35).
28 Council Regulation (EEC) 2079/92 ) of 30.6.1992 (OJ L 215, 30.7.1992, p. 91).
29 Council Regulation (EEC) 2080/92 of 30.6.1992 (OJ L 215, 30.7.1992, p. 96).
Afforestation refers generally to establishing forest cover on agricultural land.
!set aside farmland for at least 20 years for nature reserves or parks
or to protect hydrological systems; and
!manage land for leisure activities and public access.
Payments were made to farmers to cover the costs and/or loss of income from
adopting the agri-environmental measures. In addition, assistance included measures
to improve the training of farmers with regard to farming or forestry practices
compatible with environmental protection.
The two other accompanying measures, though not principally agri-
environmental, also had environmental aspects. The principal aim of the early
retirement scheme was to encourage replacement of elderly farmers by younger ones
or to reallocate the land to non-agricultural uses. In both cases, member states were
to operate the programs “in harmony with the requirements of environmental
protection or assure that the land is used in a manner compatible with protection or
improvement of the quality of the environment and of the countryside” (Reg. EEC
2079/92). Similarly, the EU afforestation program aimed to encourage farmers to
withdraw their land from crop or livestock production for up to 20 years (a
permanent set-aside) and dedicate it to afforestation. Implementation of the program
was supposed to contribute to forms of countryside management more compatible
with environmental balance and to combat the effects of greenhouse gasses by
absorbing carbon dioxide through an eventual improvement in forest resources (EEC
Each member state could decide on its participation in the accompanying
environmental measures. Programs were funded from the Guarantee Section of the
EAGGF, not the Guidance Section, on a matching basis — 50% of the costs of the
programs were funded by the EU, 50% by member states. (EU co-financing for such
projects in poorer regions was 75%.) Farmers who voluntarily agreed to implement
agri-environmental measures for a minimum period of five years received annual
payments calculated on the basis of additional costs and income forgone and the
financial incentive needed to spur adoption. Payments were limited to EUR 450-90030
per hectare. Payments were also made to livestock producers on a per animal unit
basis (EUR 210 for each sheep or cattle unit by which a herd is reduced; EUR 100
for each livestock unit of an endangered breed reared).
That these agri-environmental programs were funded from the Guarantee
Section of the EAGGF rather than the Guidance Section was an important change.
This is the first time that Guarantee funds were allocated to anything other than
commodity support. But whereas commodity support was totally financed by the
Guarantee Section, the Guidance Section approach of co-financing structural
programs on a matching basis was used to allocate the Guarantee funds to the agri-
environmental (and other rural development) programs.
30 One hectare is equivalent to 2.47 acres. 1 EUR is about $1.21 as of the date of this report.
Consequently, 450-900 EUR per hectare is about $220-$440 per acre.
Agri-Environmental Programs in Agenda 200031
The process of agricultural policy reform and of integrating agri-environmental
measures into agricultural policy was continued with the Agenda 2000 reforms. The
primary rationale for further reforming the CAP was to adapt it to the enlargement
of the EU by another 10 member states within existing budgetary and other limits.
A second rationale was to prepare the EU for new WTO agricultural trade
negotiations that were to have been launched in Seattle in 1999, but were launched
subsequently at Doha, Qatar, in 2001.
Agenda 2000 established adoption of agri-environmental measures as the only
compulsory element of EU rural development policy. Member states have to include
agri-environmental measures (such as those identified in the 1992 regulations) in
their rural development programs to tap funding available from the Guarantee
Section of the EAGGF.
Agenda 2000 also established rural development (including the agri-
environmental accompanying measures and the other environmental programs) as the
second pillar of the CAP, the first pillar being the commodity support programs and
direct income support payments to farmers. All of the rural development measures
are co-financed by the EAGGF Guarantee Section in all member states. This fund
has an annual average ceiling of EUR 4.3 billion for rural development (which
includes agri-environmental measures) for the budget period 2000 to 2006, about
10% of annual Guarantee funds under Agenda 2000. The EAGGF Guarantee
Section, as a rule, co-finances 50% of the cost of the rural development/agri-
environmental measures undertaken by member states. Poorer regions could qualify
for a higher percentage of EU co-financing.
A midterm review of Agenda 2000 undertaken by the EU resulted in further
significant reforms of the CAP in 2003. The major reform was the establishment of
a single farm payment decoupled from production (with some exceptions for certain
crops) to replace the myriad commodity payments made to EU farmers. Receiving
the single payment is contingent on farmers’ compliance with environmental and
other requirements (food safety, occupational safety, animal welfare) set at the EU
and national levels (cross-compliance). Cross-compliance is now compulsory and
all farmers receiving direct payments will be subject to it. Farmers will be sanctioned
for non-observance of these standards through cuts in direct payments. These policy
changes took effect on January 1, 2005. Member states still benefit from co-
financing of agri-environmental and other rural development measurers out of
Guarantee funds. The 2003 reform makes additional funds available for rural
development by reducing the Guarantee funds available for commodity price and
income support and transferring them to rural development, a process referred to as
31 Council Regulation (EC) 1257/99 of May 17, 1999 (OJ L 160 26.6.1999, p. 80).
32 Council Regulation (EC) 1782/2003 L 270/1 21.10.2003, p. 1 ff.
Cross-Compliance with Agri-Environmental Measures. In order to
qualify for the single farm payment, EU farmers must observe “statutory mandatory
requirements” related to the environment as well as “good agricultural and
environmental farming practices.” (Cross-compliance also entails meeting standards
for food safety and animal welfare). No additional compensation is available to
farmers for meeting these minimum standards. The statutory mandatory requirements
include the regulation established in the water protection, nitrate, pesticide, and
habitats and wild birds directives discussed above. Good farming practices are
spelled out in the regulation implementing the 2003 reforms (see Table 2).
Table 2. Good Agricultural and Environmental Practices
Soil erosion: — Minimum soil cover
Protect soil through appropriate measures — Minimum land management
reflecting site-specific conditions
— Retain terraces
Soil organic matter: — Standards for crop rotations where
Maintain soil organic matter levelsapplicable
through appropriate practices — Arable stubble management
Soil structure: — Appropriate machinery use
Maintain soil structure through
Minimum level of maintenance: — Minimum livestock stocking rates
Ensure a minimum level of maintenanceor/and appropriate regimes
and avoid the deterioration of habitats — Protection of permanent pasture
— Retention of landscape features
— Avoiding the encroachment of
unwanted vegetation on agricultural
Source: Annex IV of Council Directive (EC) No 1782/2003.
Farmers who do not comply with the statutory management requirements or
good agricultural and environmental practices “as a result of action or omission
directly attributable to the individual farmer” will be subject to reduction or
cancellation of their single farm payment. If non-compliance results from negligence,
the farmer’s payment is reduced by a minimum of 5% or, in the case of repeated non-
compliance, 15%. If non-compliance is intentional, the percentage reduction will be
not less than 20% and may go as high as the total payment for one or more calendar
years. Member states get to keep 25% of any amounts derived from non-compliance.
Member states are responsible for carrying out spot checks to verify that farmers
are complying with the requirements. The European Commission is responsible for
ensuring that the member states are enforcing cross-compliance and providing them
with technical assistance if needed.
Assistance to Farmers in Meeting Standards. The 2003 reforms added
two measures that assist farmers in meeting the new, more demanding standards.
Temporary and degressive support will be payable to farmers to help them adapt to
the introduction of the new standards. Assistance will be on a flat-rate basis and
degressive for a maximum period of five years and subject to a ceiling of EUR
10,000 per holding in any year. Support will also be available to help farmers with
the costs of using farm advisory services to assess the performance of their farm
business against the new cross-compliance standards being introduced. Farmers may
receive up to a maximum of 80% of the cost of such services, subject to a ceiling of
EUR 1,500 per service.
Support for Implementing Natura (2000). The 2003 CAP reforms also
made some changes in the Natura 2000 program (see page 7). Per hectare funding
for areas covered by the habitats and wild birds directives will be increased.
Assistance can start at EUR 500 per hectare, declining to EUR 200 per hectare over
five years. Higher payments initially are intended to reflect higher initial costs
associated with adjustment of farming practices when land is designated under the
Natura 2000 program. The total area eligible for Natura 2000 funding is no longer
restricted to a maximum of 10% of the area of a member state.
Increased EU Co-Financing for Agri-Environment (and Animal
Welfare). EU co-financing for these measures increases to a maximum of 85% in
poorer regions and 60% in other areas. (Previous co-financing of rural development
measures was 75% for poorer regions and 50% for all others.)
Increased Support for LFAs. Compensatory allowances for LFAs are
increased to a maximum of EUR 250/hectare (on average at member state levels).
Previously, per hectare payments in LFAs were set at EUR 200.
Additional Financing for Rural Development Policy
The 2003 CAP reforms also introduced a new system for financing rural
development (including agri-environmental) policy called compulsory modulation.
Under compulsory modulation funds from commodity support will be transferred to
rural development support. Member states may then use the additional funds to
finance new rural development measures or to increase financing of existing
measures. Under the system, farms receiving over EUR 5000 a year in direct
payments will have those payments reduced (i.e., modulated) by 3% in 2005, 4% in
When the modulation rate reaches 5%, estimates are that it will result in additional
EU rural development funds (inflation-adjusted) of EUR 1.2 billion per year (over
the 4.3 billion previously allocated).
Currently EU agri-environmental programs account for 52% of rural
development spending (from both EU and member states’ financing). Within the
rural development spending category, agri-environmental programs compete with
rural restructuring (e.g., investment aids) and non-farm rural economy programs (e.g.,
agri-tourism or village renewal). Despite these competing programs within the rural
development program, spending on agri-environmental measures appears likely to
continue as a substantial component of total rural development spending over the
Table 3. Proposed Budget Commitments for the CAP,
Rural Development, and Total EU Spending
(EUR million — 2004 prices)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Rur a l 11,759 12,235 12,700 12,825 12,952 13,077 13,205
Tot a l 55,259 55,908 56,054 55,859 55,666 55,863 55,497
Note: Rural development, which includes spending on agri-environmental measures, is a component
of total CAP spending.
Funds generated by modulation will be distributed among all member states for
use in their rural development programs financed by the EAGGF Guarantee Section.
As of 2007, 20% of the modulation money generated in a member state will be
allocated to that member state. The remaining amounts will be redistributed among
member states, according to their
!GDP per capita purchasing power.
Every member state, however, will get back at least 80% of the modulation funds
generated from its farmers.
In September 2005, the EU’s Council of Ministers adopted a new Rural
Development Regulation (2007/2003). Under this new legislation, rural development
funding (including agri-environmental funding) will be centralized in one single
fund: The European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The
regulation establishes that a minimum of 25% of rural development spending will
focus on environmental stewardship in land management.34
EU Spending on Agri-Environmental Measures
It is difficult to get an estimate of EU and member states’ total spending on agri-
environmental programs, particularly since funding of such activities is a shared
33 “Proposed budget commitments for the CAP,” in AgraFacts, June 30, 2004, published
for Agra-Europe (AgE) Bonn, German Federal Republic, by AGRA, 84 Boulevard de
Sebastopol, 75003 Paris, France.
34 The rural development regulation is discussed at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/
responsibility between the EU and the member states. Nevertheless, an idea of how
much is spent on this category of programs is included in the EU’s notification to the
WTO of domestic support for agriculture in 2000-2001 (marketing year), the most
recent year available.35 The EU reports spending by the EU and its member states of
EUR 5.7 billion for “protection of the environment and preservation of the
countryside, control of soil erosion, extensification, aid for environmentally sensitive
areas; support and protection of organic production by creating conditions for fair
competition; aid for forestry measures in agriculture; (and) conservation of genetic
resources in agriculture.” In contrast, the United States, in its WTO notification,
reports spending of $2.7 billion for various environmental programs in its 2000-2001
Some Concluding Observations
This review of U.S. and EU current agri-environmental policies reveals both
similarities and differences (see Table 4 following this section). Many of the major
environmental topics dealt with by U.S. and EU policy and programs are much the
same — soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, farmland preservation and protection,
and wetlands protection and restoration, but how they are addressed is different in
many significant ways. One major difference is the extent to which cross-compliance
measures are used in relation to receipt of commodity support payments. Although
U.S. agri-environmental policy has emphasized voluntary participation, farmers or
ranchers with erodible lands or wetlands must comply with cross-compliance
measures as a condition for receiving commodity payments. In the EU, on the other
hand, all farms (as of January 1, 2005) are required to meet certain statutory
environmental management requirements and observe “good agricultural and
environmental practices” in order to receive support payments (provided as a single37
In the United States, the federal government is primarily responsible for
program administration and funding. It provides technical assistance and financial
or cost-sharing assistance developing and implementing conservation plans. In
contrast, EU member states are primarily responsible for administering agri-
environmental programs which are co-financed generously by the European
Commission. Farmers receive technical assistance to enable them to meet the
compulsory agri-environmental standards and financial aid as they implement
activities to meet the standards.
In the United States, integrating agri-environmental programs with rural
development policy and shifting funds from commodity to agri-environmental efforts
35 The EU notification of domestic support for agriculture for MY2000-MY2001 is available
36 The U.S. notification of domestic support for agriculture for MY2000-MY2001 is
available at [http://docsonline.wto.org/DDFDocuments/t/G/AG/N/USA/51.doc].
37 A discussion and evaluation of the EU’s recent policy reforms is Analysis of the 2003
CAP Reform prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), Paris, France, 2004.
are at issue. To date, United States policy makers have not chosen to make this
linkage or to transfer funds. EU policymakers seem to have made a decision to
integrate agri-environmental programs into a broad rural development policy. The
EU, as part of its most recent reform of the CAP, has also made a policy decision to
shift increasing amounts of funds from commodity to agri-environmental support.
Part of the difference between the United States and the EU with respect to funding
derives from different approaches to budgeting for agricultural programs in the EU
and the United States. While the EU operates on a seven-year fixed budget for
agriculture (with inflation factors built in), the United States operates with budgets
decided in annual appropriations legislation, although programs are authorized for
Further developments in agri-environmental policy in both the United States and
the EU will likely depend at least in part on outcomes from ongoing multilateral
agricultural trade negotiations. If these negotiations result in further restrictions on
trade-distorting domestic commodity support, farmers, ranchers, and policymakers
may view increased funding for green payments as an attractive alternative for
providing support to agriculture. If further restrictions are required, it seems more
likely that the United States and the EU will look at the other’s policies and
experiences more closely. If such an examination demonstrates that historic and
current differences are extensive and difficult to overcome, it may be that a broad and
imprecise definition of green payments will serve the interests of diverse parties who
participate in farm policy debates.
For U.S. policy, the status of these negotiations in early 2007, when crafting the
next farm bill is likely to start in earnest, will be particularly important because
designers of this legislation and interest groups will likely give the status and
direction of these negotiations strong consideration as they contemplate farm bill
options. If the outcome of the negotiations is uncertain while the farm bill is being
debated, this uncertainty will compound the intensity of the debate, and possibly
result in the inclusion of language in legislation giving the Department greater
flexibility in implementation.
Congressional discussion of green payments may become contentious for other
reasons as well. One source of that contention may be the translation of the concept
into policies and programs. Most interests involved in farm policy who have
expressed an opinion support the general concept of green payments. But as the
discussions become more specific, participants may find that they have different
views about program design, funding allocations, administrative responsibilities and
similar questions, making it difficult to hold together coalitions of supporters.
Among the most difficult of these questions may be deciding whether such a program
should include a significant income support component and contribute to the “bottom
line” of each participant, or should it be limited to covering costs to install and
maintain conservation practices. A related question may be deciding what is to be
accomplished through a green payment approach. Some may view it as meeting
international obligations, and seek a minimal program with limited impact to current
domestic efforts, while others may view it is a major new and positive direction in
farm policy, and seek to make it large and far-reaching. One aspect of discussing
these options may be over whether payments should be based on cost-sharing for
individual practices, which has a long history in agri-environmental policies, or on
the level of improved environmental performance that results from installing
Consideration of green payments may also include a debate over questions of
scale. To this point, all conservation programs are implemented at the scale of an
individual farm. Green payments could include additional incentives for coordinated
and collective action that have much larger cumulative benefits than actions on
individual farms are likely to result in. Such programs could be designed around the
magnitude of the benefits that the group provides, and grow or shrink for all members
of the group as the participation, and therefore the benefits, change.
Differences between the United States and the EU in how green payments have
been defined and translated into policy and programs may make consideration of EU
agri-environmental policy as a model or source of ideas problematic. Some aspects
of EU policy, e.g., compulsory cross-compliance with agri-environmental measures
as a condition for receiving price and income support, differ substantially from
historical U.S. practice, in which cross-compliance has been far more sparingly
applied. Spending on agri-environmental programs in the United States has been
relatively less than in the EU, both as a portion of total federal spending for
agriculture and as an amount spent. Identifying sources of increased funding for agri-
environmental programs, even in the context of possible new WTO restrictions on
other forms of farm support, might still be difficult given projected budget deficits.
Even with new multilateral restrictions on farm subsidies, agri-environmental
programs might compete unfavorably with the more conventional forms of farm
support or with other WTO-compatible programs. Apart from funding
considerations, a consensus for linking agri-environment and rural development with
more traditional farm program measures has not emerged in the United States as it
apparently has in the EU. So the extent to which EU agri-environmental policy could
serve as a model or source of ideas for U.S. agri-environmental policy remains to be
Table 4. Comparison of Current U.S. and EU Agri-Environmental
Key Policy AspectsU.S.EU
Overall purpose ofEncourage voluntaryIntegrate range of environmental
policyadoption of agriculturaland socio-economic goals into
practices that benefit the agricultural policy.
ProgramFederal governmentMember States primarily
administration andprimarily responsible forresponsible for program
fundingadministration andadministration; co-financing with
funding.EU on formula basis.
Key Policy AspectsU.S.EU
Relationship toCross-complianceIn principle, cross-compliance
Commodityrequired for farms withwith all agri-environmental
Paymentscertain types of land toprograms required for all farms to
receive commodityreceive commodity payments.
payments (see “cross-
Major issues- Soil quality- Soil quality
addressed by agri-- Water quality- Water quality
environmental- Wildlife Habitat- Wildlife habitat
policy - Farmland Preservation- Farmland Preservation
- Grassland and Wetland- Wetland Protection and
- Water Conservation- Pesticides
- Air Quality.- Wild birds
- Stocking density
(The US addresses- Permanent pastures
pesticides through- Rural landscape
regulation.)(Also food safety, animal welfare,
promotion of rural development).
Cross-ComplianceCompulsory cross-Compulsory cross-compliance
Measures: Programscompliance with resourcewith:
or specific actionsconservation measures: - Statutory (environmental)
required to receive-Conservationmanagement requirements
direct commoditycompliance (erodible- “Good Agricultural and
support paymentslands in production) Environmental Practices;”
- Sodbuster (erodible- Other standards (food safety,
grasslands being broughtanimal welfare).
(converting wetlands to
Assistance toTechnical assistance forTemporary and degressive
producers to meetdeveloping conservation(reduced over time) compensatory
compulsoryplans; financial or cost-financial aid to meet standards;
measuressharing assistance totechnical assistance (farm
implement plans.advisory services).
Voluntary ProgramsMany opportunities,Member State programs co-
including CRP, WRP,financed with EU, e.g., reduction
EQIP, WHIP, GRP, FPP,of fertilizer use, organic farming,
CSP and other smallerextensification, upkeep of
programs.abandoned farmland, or
Source: Congressional Research Service, based on literature review including U.S. and EU
p ub licatio ns.