Farm Progress America, April 9, 2024

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Farm Progress America, April 9, 2024

Mike Pearson takes a look at recent European Union farmer protests there.

2024 is a big election year in the European Union. Ahead of the elections, European farmers have been staging protests over a number of issues. They have ranged from declining commodity prices to climbing input prices to objections over proposed environmental regulations.

Those protests are about to start bearing fruit as policy makers have began pulling back on several environmental initiatives.

In Brussels, at the European Union headquarters, farmers drove tractors through the center of the city and spread manure on several government buildings.

While inside, the focus was whether to rollback or delay a new anti-deforestation policy.

For many farmers, the frustration dates back to the last EU Parliamentary Elections held in 2019.

That year, environmental concerns were in all of the headlines and EU policy makers announced the Green Deal- a set of policies to regulate the environment.

One highly contested part was the Nature Restoration Law-- it was first proposed in 2021. The law targets PEAT Land- a type of wetland that has been drained across Europe and used for farm land.

Nearly 58 Million of Peat Land are used for agriculture in the European Union and the law would have required 30 percent of them be restored to the natural state by 2030 and a full 70 percent would have to be out of production by 2050.

After farm groups ramped up opposition to the terms of the law, the EU Parliament rewrote several components but making no changes to the Peat Land requirements.

The law was voted out of parliament by a small majority but now must pass the European Union Counsel- a much tougher task. The EU Counsel is made up of leaders to the EU member states and those people don't want to face ire of farmers during an election year.

So far, the majority of the EU Counsel say they won't vote for the passage-- at least during an election year.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness .

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