Agricultural land (including natural grassland) accounts for almost half of the European territory (48%).
The Common Agricultural Policy
Professional family farms (5-250 hectares), which manage 67% of the farmland, receive 71% of the total direct aid.
Size of farms
The average farm in the EU-28 had 16 hectares of agricultural land in 2013.
Agricultural economic output
In 2017, the EU agricultural industry produced a total output value of € 427 billion, 50% of this value came from crops, 40% from livestock and the remainder from secondary activities.
Compared to the average wage in the overall economy, the entrepreneurial income per family work unit came to around 46% in 2017.
One in three farmers diversify their activities, 77% of these spend more time on the other gainful activity than on their agricultural work.
Only 5.6% of all European farms are run by farmers younger than 35while more than 31% of all farmers are older than 65.
Farming sector's productivity
The sector's total factor productivity has been climbing over time - in 2017 it reached 109.5% of its level in 2005.
The share of agriculture in overall employment is in the area of 4%, representing 20.5 million full and part-time jobs.
In 2016, 72.7% of EU Member States’ exports of agri-food products were shipped to other EU neighbours that are part of the single market.
A large part of the EU agricultural area is being farmed according to specific eco-friendly practices. In 2018, 80% of EU farm land was subject to at least one of the CAP greening obligations.
In 2018, the value of EU trade in agri-food products (exports and imports) reached €253.1 billion representing 1/3 of the EU net trade balance.
GHG emissions from agriculture have decreased by 24% in the last thirty years. The EU forestry sector absorbs the equivalent of almost 10% of EU GHG emissions each year.
In the EU, there are 41,000+ producer organisations (POs), 22,000+ of which are cooperatives.
10 Key Challenges
Since the 1960s, Copa-Cogeca has been working tirelessly to protect the interests of European farmers, feeding the future of the European Union by providing safe, nutritious food, defending the climate, and leading the way in the development of a sustainable bioeconomy.
- Ensure a fair standard of living for EU farmers while maintaining our family farming model;
- Support biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding half a billion people;
- Reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions while increasing carbon storage and sequestration;
- Make EU farmers, forest owners and their cooperatives central players of the circular and bioeconomy;
- Increase productivity in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation;
- Ensure that EU farming remains at the forefront when it comes to access to and uptake of digital, technological, biological and social innovations;
- Keep rural areas vibrant and guarantee the generational renewal needed to avoid an increased rural/urban divide;
- Develop a fair and sustainable trade policy that promotes and supports our continuous investment in high farming standards;
- Address volatility in the agri-food chain and guarantee a fairer, more transparent and more efficient food supply chain;
- Encourage the setting up and development of agri-cooperatives and producer organisations.
A Timeline of EU Agriculture
Copa and Cogeca have been working tirelessly to protect the interests of European farmers, feeding the future of the European Union by providing safe, nutritious food, defending the climate, and leading the way in the development of a sustainable bioeconomy.
There can be no strong Europe without strong European agriculture and forestry. The challenges we are facing and the aspirations we have are inextricably connected. We can feed the future of the European Union, not only by providing nutritious and safe food, but through our role as defenders of the climate, as leaders in the bioeconomy and as custodians of the countryside. The fact that we fulfil these roles should not be taken for granted and needs to be fully recognised and supported.
- Generational renewal
- Plant health
- Research and access to knowledge
- Rural development
- Smart/precision farming
- Gender balance
- Climate change
- Health and well-being
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Investment and competitiveness
- Use of natural resources
- Cooperation among farmers
- Market and quality
- Animal health
- Fairness in the food chain
- Animal welfare
- International trade