Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a story which is almost as old as the policy itself. Designed in the early 1960s to protect Europe's farmers and safeguard food production through subsidy and protection, it wasn't long before supply rapidly out-stripped demand,
spawning beef and butter mountains, grain silos and lakes of wine and milk which were either destroyed or eventually sold around the world at subsidy.
In response and over time, CAP reform was divided into two pillars: production support and rural development. With the former, land was set aside and payments made in lieu of production, now referred to as the Single Farm Payment. The latter, or the EU Rural Development Policy, is designed to promote economic, social and environmental development of the countryside
And it is the environmental aspect of this policy which is the cause of the present rumpus as highlighted in the enclosed article by Jane Dalton in The Independent.
One critic said the vote on the EU agriculture reform package would bring extinction closer for many species after it failed to offer incentives for farmers to reduce their environmental impact. "
Here is the article in full in pdf >