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On 3 July 2017, simpler and more effective rules on environmental measures for farmers came into force. These rules are the result of a review of the greening obligations carried out in 2016. They are aimed at making easier for farmers to meet the different obligations in the field of “ecological focus areas” (EFA) and environmental and biodiversity protection.

In light of EU’s greening objective, farmers need to farm in accordance with practices that are considered beneficial to the environment, such as maintaining permanent grassland, diversifying crops and dedicating a minimum of 5% of arable land to EFAs. EFAs characteristics vary depending on national priorities and farming choices of the Member States and they can include fallow land, field margins, hedges and trees, buffer strips, or areas planted with specific crops.

Some of the changes introduced by the new rules concern:

  • the definition of what constitutes an EFA and the conditions that have to be met for it to be designated as such;
  • EFAs landscape features;
  • the period permitted for crop diversification;
  • use of pesticides on EFAs.

The new rules will apply at the national level from 2018, but EU countries are, free to begin implementing them immediately.

Further information is available at the following LINK.


Giovanna Bagnardi e Davide Scavuzzo