Hvad mener Volt? / Landbrug og Miljø

Vi har brug for Regenerativt Landbrug

Den 19. marts 2024 kom Volt Europa med en klar udmelding om, hvordan de ser, at landmænd og politikere kan komme videre. Vi har brug for regenerativt landbrug og en gennemgribende revision af den fælles landbrugspolitik - ikke tilbageskridt på klimaområdet.

Læs hele Volt Europas udtalelse her. (Engelsk)

For several months, European farmers have been taking to the streets to make valid demands for a better livelihood. At the same time, we are experiencing droughts, floods, fires, and biodiversity loss, all of which are both impacting and being impacted by unsustainable farming.

The protests shine a light on the complex interplay between the farming sector, the rest of the food supply chain, and environmental policy.

Volt empathises with the farmers’ concerns. However, we stress that regressive, unsustainable, nationally-focused policies won’t address climate change nor improve farmers’ lives in the long run. Regenerative agriculture, however, has the potential to reverse current climate trends and protect citizens through water cycle, soil, and ecosystem restoration, as well as carbon sequestration. With our planet entering its sixth mass extinction and climate change already disrupting the global food supply chain, we must rethink our food production and consumption practices through comprehensive and supportive solutions for citizens and farmers across the whole European Union. 

The common roots of the farmers’ protests

Protests across Member States highlight a widespread European issue. The price farmers receive for produce is often below production cost as a result of oligarchy-controlled pricing and what they feel is unfair competition from producers in other countries.

Conventional monoculture methods require considerable inputs, such as fertiliser and pesticides, which are harmful for both public health and ecosystems. But with regulations limiting their use, and requirements to allocate land for indispensable ecosystem services, farmers worry about how to keep up yields. Those who do adopt more sustainable methods currently receive little reward for doing so. Meanwhile, rising fossil fuel prices and inflation contribute to the escalation of production costs, further burdening the agricultural sector.

Trapped in huge debt because of investments made into intensive monoculture production systems, bound by contracts with banks, distributors or suppliers, and often unable to secure governmental support, farmers are struggling to make the necessary structural shift towards environmentally-friendly food production.

Regenerative pioneers show the way

Change is possible: globally, farmers are experimenting with alternative methods such as polycultural systems, regenerative farming or farming in urban contexts that can bring back biodiversity and greater food security, while providing fair incomes for farmers. 

Regenerating our lands and natural habitats is our only way forward but it is imperative to provide farmers with political and financial support in the transition towards life-promoting agricultural methods. 

European solutions for a just transition

Despite calls from some (often with vested interests) to do so, we must not weaken vital climate legislation in an attempt to appease the protesters. Yet the Commission has already exempted agriculture from its 90% emissions reduction target for 2040 and backed away from pesticide reduction targets. At Volt Europa, we believe that we must stay the course on climate goals while supporting farmers if we want to ensure the wellbeing of citizens, planet, and farmers alike. 

Therefore, and following the latest European Advisory Board on Climate Change recommendations, a thorough revision of the CAP to support innovation and the scaling up of regenerative agricultural practices must be undertaken. This should lead to the following key policies:

Direct support to farmers:  

  1. Financial support: conditional aid for eligible farmers, prioritising small and medium-sized farms, through measures like subsidies, loan buyback and low-interest loans for necessary adaptations to regenerative practices. To fund this measure, subsidies for environmentally harmful farming practices and per-hectare payments must be phased out, adhering to the ‘public money for public goods’ principle.

  2. Training and knowledge sharing: farmers must have access to an EU-wide platform for knowledge exchange and advice, along with access to consultants and experts specialised in regenerative agriculture.

  3. Incentives to restore nature: when suitable, farmers must be incentivised to allocate portions of their land for nature restoration, restoring peatlands, hosting forests, and preserving natural habitats. This promotes the creation of carbon sinks and healthy ecosystems, potentially reducing input dependency in the farming ecosystem.

  4. Rewards for eco-friendly farming practices: farmers adopting self-compensating methods for their carbon footprint, producing healthier food, and contributing to water cycles and biodiversity restoration must be fairly rewarded for their efforts.

  5. Incentives for new farmers: in order to attract new farmers, we must develop financial incentives, targeted educational programmes, professional training, and other forms of support.

Supporting initiatives directed at costs, sales, and prices:

  1. Support farm cooperatives: all Member States should support the cooperativisation of farmers, enhancing their bargaining power and securing fairer prices for their produce. 

  2. Promote farm-to-table: encouraging citizens to support local producers can positively affect prices and shield farmers from unfair competition. Farm-to-table practices also reduce transportation needs, providing some independence from fluctuating oil prices. 

  3. Align prices with environmental impact: prices should reflect the full costs of production, through true cost accounting. This approach will encourage consumers to buy locally-produced, healthier, and more sustainable goods. Additionally, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) should cover all types of industrial farming, with a fair distribution of associated costs. The revenue generated from emission pricing should fund a just transition to regenerative farming.

  4. Develop an EU-wide food labelling system: provide consumers with harmonised information on the environmental, animal welfare, social, and health impacts of products. 

Additionally, we should prioritise investments in research and development, both by redirecting part of the CAP budget and by de-risking investments to boost the participation of private investors in the transition. This approach can support the development of key technical innovations in regenerative farming, while assisting farmers in ecosystem development through AI.

The way forward

Regenerating our land is key to protecting citizens in the face of a dangerously changing planet, and farmers will play an ever-greater role in the success of this process. At Volt Europa, we believe it is critical to recognise the genuine grievances of farmers, but also to oppose the populist forces that are exploiting these recent protests and using farmers as an opportunity to promote their nationalistic and retrogressive ideals while ignoring the climate crisis. To truly help farmers, and to inspire and build a healthy planet, the EU must provide solutions that are forward-thinking, thoughtful, and humane. 

Growing food in harmony with nature is a historic change that must be achieved through broad collaboration. On a European and a national level, Volt will fight to address the transnational dimension of farmers’ concerns and promote adapted, fair, and coherent national policies that allow both farmers and ecosystems to thrive


Jakob Overby Kirkegaard

EP24 Spidskandidat "Landbrug og Miljø"

En bæredygtig fremtid kræver, at vi har et bæredygtigt fødevaresystem og det betyder, at vi er nødt til at gøre tingene anderledes end før. Vi skal reformere landbrugsstøtten og hjælpe vores landbrugere til at overgå til bæredygtige og langtidsholdbare dyrkningsmetoder.

Støt Volts opstilling for en solid landbrugspolitik

Vi har brug for fælleseuropæisk tilgang til landbrugsreform! Støt vores opstilling, så får DU en stærkere stemme i Danmark og Europa!

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