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Agricultural atlas 2019

Facts and figures on EU farming policy

No other economic activity is so closely interwoven with the human and natural environment as is agriculture. If farming changes, so the ecological and social systems that it hosts must change. All over Europe, there is a shift in how the soil is managed and livestock is kept. In many places, farmers are throwing in the towel and giving up their farms. The remaining farms are getting bigger, and every patch of land is being used as intensively as possible.

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The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, generously furnished with an annual budget of almost 60 billion euros, is the most important means to help farmers and mould the future. Despite this, policies are not geared to what many European citizens regard as important: conserving the environment, keeping animals inappropriate conditions, protecting waters birds, and insects, and maintaining life and livelihoods in rural areas.

The Agriculture Atlas shows how closely Europe’s agriculture is intertwined with our lives and our living space. It also reveals how little of the funding from the Common Agricultural Policy is fit for purpose: how little of the funding actually furthers the goals that Europeans wish for their farming.

But the atlas also illustrates that it is worthwhile pushing for a better, fundamentally different set of agricultural policies. In many countries in the European Union, movements are growing for a sustainable food system that is socially acceptable and globally just. Farmer and consumer associations are forming networks with groups that promote nature, the environment, and animal welfare, as well as with international development organizations.

The European edition of this atlas takes up this banner. It combines elements from various already published national editions, giving both an overview of Europe as a whole as well as insights into the agricultural structures in various EU member states.