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Ukrainian Refugees Won’t Solve Labour Shortages

As labour shortages loom, the agricultural sector is preparing for yet another tough season, especially in countries like Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Some farmers and officials hope to alleviate this crisis with labour-capable Ukrainian refugees. But are these expectations realistic? As perceptions of Ukrainian labourers change, instead of stopgap solutions, more systemic change is needed, argues PĂ©ter JĂłzsef Bori. […]

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Diversification in Rural Ireland – event report

With many farms specialising, mixed farming in Ireland is now at only 3%. This compares to an EU average of 21%. Such specialisation has made Ireland vulnerable to global events as it relies heavily on feed and fertilizer imports for an export driven agri-food sector. Meanwhile, there has been a deterioration of ecosystems and a failure to reach climate targets. So what level of agri-food diversification is possible – and desirable – in Ireland? […]

Latest from Brussels

All Hot Air? An Organic Action Plan without Farm to Fork Targets

The European Parliament voted this month to endorse the EU Action Plan for Organic Agriculture. The adopted action plan garnered 611 votes to 14, with five abstentions. What is missing however is any specific mention of the Farm to Fork target of shifting 25% of agriculture to organic. So, where’s the action in this action plan? Or is it all just hot air? Ashely Parsons has more.  […]

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The Influence of EU Policies in National Rural Digitalisation

Digitalisation is progressing in rural areas around Europe in different ways. There are a number of reasons for variability in style and substance, as MarĂ­a Alonso-Roldán and Mar Delgado-Serrano of the DESIRA project show. The pair have engaged with experts in 15 countries. Here’s what they’ve found.  […]

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A Just and Green CAP and Trade Policy in and Beyond the EU – Part 2

Trade liberalisation enforced by the WTO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and several bilateral trade agreements largely contributed to the current economic instability in agriculture, but also to the climate and biodiversity crises. Family farmers in the EU and the Global South face unstable low prices and lose access to their land because of priority to export-led production. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Bridging Worlds Old and New

Meet Claire Jeannerat, who runs a sheep and goat farm with her family in the Swiss Alps. The title of shepherdess is is a true and often humbling apprenticeship with mother nature and all the uncertainties. Claire and her husband endeavour to live this vocation in a manner that respects and upholds ancient traditions that are being lost in modern society, bridging a path between the old and new. […]

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Just Transition in Ireland – Next Steps

What’s really involved in a genuinely just transition? Here we summarise the perspectives of wide range of actors from agriculture, energy, forestry and rural areas gathered to exchange views on the meaning and practical application of a just transition in a farming, food and rural context in Ireland. Event held in the WeCreate Centre in Cloughjordan ecovillage. With Matteo Metta and Oliver Moore. […]

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France| Keeping The Wolf From The Door

French farmers aren’t against wolves. Large predators have their role to play in the ecosystem. But with wolf poulations on the rise in many regions, livestock farmers are demanding more supports from the state to keep the wolf from the door. ValĂ©rie Geslin reports from Salon Ă  la Ferme in the French Alps. […]

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France | Why Did Le Pen Reap Record Numbers of Rural Votes?

Europe let out a sigh of relief on Sunday night with the announcement of Emmanuel Macron’s victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen for the French Presidency. But since her previous bid in 2017, Le Pen’s popularity has increased steadily, especially in rural France. Does her growing appeal point to a rejection of Macron’s techno-solutionism and the failures of his first term? What does it tell us about rural attitudes to Europe? Analysis by Ashley Parsons. […]

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France | Growing Vegetables, Seeding Values – Part 1

Vincent, Julie and their three employees run a small market garden in North-West France. Producing 45 vegetables, the team at La Ferme de PitouĂ© has learnt over the years the limits of diversification. In their garden, over coffee in the sunshine and a chorus of birdsong, Vincent tells us how they manage to stay true to their values on the farm. Part 1 of a conversation with ValĂ©rie Geslin. […]

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Bulgaria’s CAP Strategic Plan: Backsliding on Nature and Biodiversity

The Society for Territorial and Environmental Prosperity (STEP) believes that Bulgaria’s CAP Strategic Plan must be corrected in order to be in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the EU’s Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategy. In this article, it highlights essential changes to be made, from targets and monitoring to measuring coherence and consistency. […]

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Rural Ireland on the Move – new report on Just Transition and Diversification launched.

This week ARC2020 and partner organisations release a report, and hold two events, on the topics of Just Transition and Diversification in Ireland. Targets to reduce emissions come alongside pressure for agriculture to improve its impact on biodiversity, water and air quality. Meanwhile rising feed, fertilizer and other input costs, and a sequence of recent crises – brexit, covid, and now the tragic war in Ukraine – compound the pressure. So what next for rural Ireland? […]