Farm incomes are up in the EU, but there is considerable variation across member states. EU farm incomes jumped by almost 13% last year, thanks to higher crop and milk prices, but the UK was among just seven member states to see a drop.
The biggest increases in earnings are attributed to Denmark (an astonishing 57% higher), Estonia (+46%), the Netherlands (+39%) and France (+34%). The UK, however, recorded income 6% lower than a year earlier. It should also be noted that key input prices such as fuel and fertilisers have been on an upward trend.
In the UK's case, exchange rates have been a significant factor. The 2010 statistics reflect a decline in the exchange rate at which payments through EU direct aid schemes were converted from euros to sterling. In the UK, this meant a fall in the value of the Single Payment Scheme and other payments of some 12 per cent.
Interestingly, the statistics reveal that a mere 15% of EU farmers claim 85% of CAP subsidies.
The same figures also show that farmers in general are still relying heavily on CAP subsidies – Pillar One and Pillar Two funds made up 42% of farm incomes last year, up from 39% in 2008. This shows a worrying dependence on subsidies and illustrates why it is so difficult to dismantle them or even reduce them substantially.