EU countries are in a hurry with rules for agricultural money for carbon farmers

The Agriculture Ministers of the EU countries believe that the European Commission should speed up the drafting of laws and regulations for the introduction of carbon storage in agriculture.

Those laws must be in place before the end of the year, they told Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who had outlined the first contours of this new agricultural branch in Brussels last week.

Ministers welcomed the European Commission's plans to launch carbon agriculture, which is also one of France's key priorities for the temporary Presidency of the Agriculture-EU Council.

French minister Julien Denormandie also announced that reducing environmental pollution from the agricultural sector will be discussed in depth at an informal ministerial meeting in Strasbourg in early February. Ministers aim to draw formal conclusions on carbon storage certification at their meeting in March.

While little is known about "fees" or "payments" for "storing carbon," EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski pledged to ensure farmers would be adequately compensated. He responded positively to questions from ministers about the use of the new CAP funds via the national NSPs.

France's efforts to speed up the issue have had strong support from the new German agriculture minister, Cem Özdemir. The Green politician called carbon farming "a great opportunity" for farmers because it provides an additional, reliable source of income.

Spain has already included some carbon farming practices in the eco-schemes of their National Strategic Plan “such as intensive grazing, conservation and planting in the case of woody crops,” explains Spain's Agriculture Minister Luis Planas. 

Several countries also stressed the need to develop a clear and reliable system for measuring and rewarding. Extra EU money should also be made available for this, outside the CAP subsidies.

Dutch minister Henk Staghouwer warned that “EU efforts to boost carbon removal should not come at the expense of EU efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.