European news – read our round-up from the continent

French Hovel


Modernising farm buildings is one of four priorities under the new French rural development plan.





















FRANCE
France Agricole


AUSTRIA
Landwirt


NORWAY
Bondebladet

logo_franceAgricole landwirt Logo bondebladet

The French rural development plan for 2007-2013 has been accepted by Brussels with a E13.5bn (£9.2bn) budget, made up of both EU and national funds.


This “second pillar” money will be used in four main ways: To help young farmers into the industry, to support disadvantaged areas, to modernise farm buildings and to finance grass premiums.


Leading farmers’ organisation FNSEA welcomed the fact that key priorities had been preserved, since the French government had agreed to top up what is a lower European contribution.


Austrian milk producers have been enjoying better returns in recent weeks.


For example, leading Austrian dairy Bergland Milk has paid an extra 2 cents/kg (1.3p/litre) for raw milk, and is currently trying to obtain higher prices from food processors.


The firming world market for skimmed milk powder, drought in Australia and rising demand for dairy products in India and China are the main price drivers.


Bergland Milk currently pays an average of 36 cents/kg (23.8p/litre) to the farmer and even higher prices are forecast for the autumn.


The average debt for Norwegian farmers has risen from NKr582,000 (£48,740) in 1999 to NKr991,000 (£82,990) in 2005, with pig and poultry producers suffering the greatest increase.


Norwegian Farmer’s Association general secretary Harald Milli said he was not surprised by the increase because, if there was to be profitable agriculture in Norway, then farmers had to invest. In the 1990s there was negative net investment, he explained, which left a gap which is now being filled.





















SWEDEN
ATL


DENMARK
Landbrugs Avisen


SPAIN
Vida Rural


ATL logo

Landbrugs Avisen logo Vida Rural

Heavy rain has hit the south of Sweden, causing major problems for farmers.
Fields have been flooded and forest roads have been so badly damaged that machines and lorries can no longer pass. This is a major problem because the forests are also filled with fallen trees from big storms last year.


As well as interrupting haulage, the heavy rain has also caused lodging in many cereal crops, which will hit yields later this summer.


Denmark is to have its first national park consisting of 24,000ha (59,300 acres) of remote land along the North Sea coast.
Two other national parks are also planned in the next six months – one in a hilly area in the east of Jutland and the other in a river delta in western Jutland.


The first national park will have few consequences for agriculture, as much of it is already owned by the Danish state. But the others will have greater impact and are causing concern among farmers.


Reform of the EU’s fruit and vegetable regime, and proposals to reform the wine regime, have met with a mixed response in Spain.
Fruit and vegetable growers have welcomed the fact that they are still being offered some stability due to the long transition period for phasing out income aids.
But Spanish wine producers have expressed concern at the EU Comission’s latest proposals to cut market supports and grub up loss-making vinyards. They fear for their incomes and are calling for a similar long transition period.