Glossary

This page contains an glossary of frequently used terms in relation to IACS and the CAP.

Active farmerTo avoid granting aid to individuals and companies whose agricultural activity is marginal, direct payments are paid only to ‘active farmers’ For instance, an individual who operates an airport, a railway service, waterworks, real estate service, a sports ground or a recreation facility, is in principle not considered an active farmer unless he/she proves that farming is not a marginal activity. This provision became compulsory in 2015. Member states have the option to apply a stricter definition of active farmer.
Agricultural activityThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced the stipulation that, for the purpose of receiving direct payments, farmers shall have an agricultural activity which means:
• the production, rearing or growing of agricultural products including harvesting, milking, breeding animals and keeping animals for farming purposes; or
• maintaining the agricultural area in a state which makes it suitable for grazing or cultivation without any particular preparatory action going beyond usual agricultural methods and machinery based on criteria to be defined by member states on the basis of a framework established by the Commission; or
• carrying out a minimum activity to be established by member states on agricultural areas naturally kept in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation.
Agricultural areaAny area taken up by arable land, permanent grassland or permanent crops.
Basic Payment Scheme Under the 2007-2013 rules of the Common Agricultural Policy, farmers received direct payments under either the Single Payment Scheme or the Single Area Payment Scheme. The 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy replaced the Single Payment Scheme with the Basic Payment Scheme which came into effect as from 2015. The Basic Payment Scheme is operated on the basis of payment entitlements allocated to farmers in the first year of application of the scheme and activated each year by farmers.
Eligibility for the Basic Payment Scheme or, as the case may be, the Single Area Payment Scheme is a precondition for farmers to receive other direct payments such as the green direct payment, the redistributive payment, the payment for areas with natural or other specific constraint and the payment for young farmers.
"Capping" and "Degressivity” (Reduction):The 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy granted member states the option on compulsory "degressivity" and voluntary "capping". In practice this mean that the amount of Direct Payment support (basic payment scheme and single area payment scheme) that an individual farm holding receives [not including the Greening payment] will be reduced by at least 5% for the amounts above 150 000€. In order to take account of employment, salary costs may be deducted before the calculation is made. This reduction does not need to apply to Member States which apply the "redistributive payment" under which at least 5% of their national envelope is held back for redistribution on the first hectares of all farms. The funds "saved" under this mechanism stay in the Member State/region concerned, and are transferred to the respective Rural Development envelope, and can be used without any co-funding requirements.
Coupled PaymentsCoupled payments are linked with the production of a specific product. Direct payments are granted to farmers for production of specific type of product. In the new CAP there is an option of providing limited amounts of "coupled" payments (between 8% and 13 % of the national envelope). It covers sectors such as: cereals, oilseeds, protein crops, grain legumes, flax, hemp, rice, nuts, starch potato, milk and milk products, seeds, sheepmeat and goatmeat, beef and veal, olive oil, silkworms, dried fodder, hops, sugar beet, cane and chicory, fruit and vegetables and short rotation coppice.
DecouplingIntroduced by the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, decoupling is the removal of the link between the receipt of a direct payment and the production of a specific product. Prior to this reform, farmers received a direct payment only if they produced the specific product to which the direct payment was associated. It meant that the profitability of producing a product (cereals, beefmeat...) did not depend only on the price at which the farmer could sell the product in the market, but also on the amount of the direct payment that was associated with that particular product.
The 2003 reform decoupled many direct payments from production and this process was continued in the 2009 "health check". The overall effect of decoupling has been to move the agricultural sector more towards the free market and to give farmers greater freedom to produce according to market demand.
The health check permitted member states to continue to couple a small number of direct payments to production (for instance the suckler cow premium and the sheep and goat premium). The possibility of keeping a link between production and direct payments was maintained in the 2013 reform. The reason is to support the continued production of particular products so as to avoid land falling out of farming in vulnerable regions.
Defectnon-fulfilment of an intended usage requirement i.e. a non-conformity that is critical so that the intended use is not possible
Eligible hectareAn eligible hectare is defined as any agricultural area of your land used for an agricultural activity. This means that on each hectare declared by you as eligible, you must carry out an agricultural activity on it. Without the activity, the land is not eligible and should not be declared for the purposes the Basic Payment Scheme, either at the stage of allocating entitlements or for payment.
ModulationThis was a mechanism that was introduced in the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and modified in the health check of 2009. It allowed for the reduction of direct payments and the transfer of the money thus ʽsavedʼ from pillar 1 (European Agricultural Guarantee Fund) to pillar 2 (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development). Modulation, as such, was not an element of the 2013 reform. Similar elements, however, exist in the form of degressivity, capping and transfers between pillars.
Transfers between pillarsThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy permitted member states to transfer up to 15% of their direct payment envelope (which is part of pillar 1) to their Rural Development envelope (pillar 2). Amounts transferred do not have to be co-financed by member states.
Alternatively, member states may make a transfer in the opposite direction (i.e. up to 15% of their Rural Development envelope to their direct payment envelope). Those member states for which the direct payment per hectare is less than 90% of the average for the European Union, may transfer up to 25% of their Rural Development envelope to their direct payment envelope.
External ConvergenceIntroduced by the 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the term external convergence refers to making the policy fairer between member states.
The policy becomes fairer because the national envelopes for direct payments are progressively adjusted either upwards or downwards to bring them close to the average level for the European Union. The national envelopes of those member states where the average payment (in EUR per hectare) is below 90% of the average are gradually increased (by one third of the difference between their current rate and 90% of the average). The national envelopes for member states receiving above average amounts are correspondingly adjusted downwards. There is a guarantee that every member state reaches a minimum average level of direct payment at national or regional level by 2019.
Financial discipline mechanismThis is a mechanism for ensuring that the expenditure under the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy does not exceed the limits specified in the European Union budget.
Green direct paymentThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced a green direct payment which is paid to farmers on the condition that they undertake practices that are beneficial to the climate and to the environment. Member states must allocate 30% of their direct payment envelope to green direct payments.
The basic practices that farmers must undertake are:
• maintaining permanent grassland,
• crop diversification,
• having 5% (later 7%) of their land as ecological focus area.
Subject to a decision by member states a farmer can, instead of applying these basic practices, undertake practices which are considered equivalent (such as crop rotation instead of crop diversification).
GreeningThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced several instruments to promote environmental sustainability and combat climate change. These instruments comprise a green direct payment, enhanced cross-compliance obligations, an obligation to allocate 30% of the Rural Development budget to projects and measures that are beneficial for the environment and climate change (including voluntary agri-environment-climate measures), training measures and support from the farm advisory services.
Internal convergenceThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced the requirement that the value of per hectare payment entitlements for the Basic Payment Scheme, within a member state, must move towards a more uniform level. To achieve this, member states could choose from different options: to apply a national or regional flat rate from 2015; to achieve a regional or national flat rate by 2019, or to ensure that those farms receiving less than 90% of the regional or national average rate see a gradual increase – with the additional guarantee that normally each payment entitlement reaches a minimum value of 60% of the national or regional average by 2019. The amounts for farmers above the regional or national average are adjusted, with an option for member states to limit the loss to 30%
Landscape featuresLandscape features are elements of the landscape that have generally been created by agricultural activity, are important for the overall value of the landscape, but do not contribute directly to agricultural productivity. It is a requirement of the CAP to identify and map relevant landscape features that should be defined by the Member State (i.e. hedges, ponds, ditches, trees in line, in group or isolated, field margins and terraces etc.).
Land Cover and Land use (FAO definition)Land cover is the observed (bio)physical cover on the earth's surface. When considering land cover in a very pure and strict sense it should be confined to describe vegetation and man-made features.
Land use is characterized by the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover type to produce, change or maintain it. Definition of land use in this way establishes a direct link between land cover and the actions of people in their environment.
The following example is a further illustration of the above definitions: "grassland" is a cover term, while "rangeland " or "tennis court" refer to the use of a grass cover;
National ceilingThis is the maximum amount that can be paid, by member state and by year, under the single payment scheme or the single area payment scheme. The concept of national ceiling was introduced in the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. National ceilings are established by the Commission based on a pre-allocation of the budget of the European Union dedicated to direct payments in the context of the financial perspective.
National or regional reserve (direct payments)Within the context of the single payment scheme (before the 2013 reform) and of the basic payment scheme (with the 2013 reform), member states must establish national or regional reserves, using part of their national ceilings. These amounts are to be used in particular for allocating payment entitlements, mainly to new entrants to farming in the event that they have not acquired payment entitlements when they acquired their land.
The 2013 reform introduced the requirement that member states allocate entitlements from the reserve (and/or increase the value of existing entitlements) as a matter of priority to young farmers (new young entrants) and new entrants. They may also allocate entitlements (or increase the value of existing entitlements) to other farmers, e.g. in areas subject to restructuring, to prevent land abandonment, and/or to compensate farmers for specific disadvantages.
Natura 2000This is a network of protected areas of particular ecological value based on two main European Union directives: the habitats directive and the birds directive. To date, some 25 000 sites have been so designated. Many of the sites are on farms, in which case the farmer is obliged to respect certain practices so that the ecosystem is protected.
Non-conformitynon-fulfilment of a specified requirement i.e. non compliant with (a part of) the specification
Organic farmingOrganic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, the application of high animal welfare standards and a production method in line with the preference of certain consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes.
Payment entitlementsPayment entitlements were introduced by the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to implement the single payment scheme. Payment entitlements were distributed to farmers based on historical data (at regional or individual farmer level). Following the 2003 reform, to qualify for a single payment, a farmer had to activate the payment entitlements that he or she held together with the same number of eligible agricultural hectares. The 2013 reform replaced these payment entitlements with newly-established payment entitlements under the basic payment scheme. By derogation, some member states respecting certain conditions may keep existing payment entitlements.
Payment for areas with natural or other specific constraintsIn order to avoid the abandonment of land in areas with natural constraints or other specific constraints, member states (or regions) may grant an additional amount of direct payment for farmers in these areas.
Payment for young farmersThe 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy stipulated that young farmers (farmers starting-up their farming activity and not older than 40 in the year of application) eligible for the basic payment may receive a payment under the young farmers scheme for a maximum period of five years. The payment is 25% of the basic payment. Member states can choose to allocate up to 2% of their direct payment envelope to these payments.
Permanent cropsÜrünle ilişkili ödemeler, belirli bir ürünün üretimi ile ilgilidir. Doğrudan ödemeler belirli tip ürünü yetiştiren çiftçilere verilmektedir. Yeni OTP'de sınırlı miktarda ürünle ilişkili ödeme yapılması seçeneği bulunmaktadır (ulusal zarfın %8'i ile %13'ü arasında). Tahıllar, yağ tohumları, protein bitkileri, tane baklagiller, keten, kenevir, pirinç, fındık, nişasta patates, süt ve süt ürünleri, tohumlar, kuzu eti ve keçi eti, sığır eti ve dana eti, zeytin yağı, ipek böceği, kurutulmuş yemler, şerbetçiotu, şeker pancarı, kamış ve hindiba, sebze ve meyveler ve enerji bitkileri bu kapsamda değerlendirilmektedir.
Redistributive paymentIn order to redistribute support to smaller farmers, member states may allocate up to 30% of their national budget to a redistributive payment for the first hectares. The number of hectares for which this payment could be allocated will be limited to 30 hectares or the average farm size in member states if the latter is more than 30 hectares. The amount per hectare cannot exceed 65% of the average payment per hectare.
Reference ParcelThere are four different reference parcel types used for IACS/LPIS applications: Agricultural parcel, Farmers’ block, Physical block and Cadastre parcel.
Agricultural parcel (green) one single crop group from a single farmer, Farmers’ block/ilot (red) one single or several crop groups from a single farmer; and Physical block (yellow) one single or several crop groups from one or several farmers.
Rural Development measuresThe Rural Development measures are defined in the Rural Development regulation and represent the main instruments to implement the Rural Development programmes. For the programming period 2014 – 2020, the number of measures has been reduced compared to the previous programming period. Furthermore, there is now more flexibility in how the measures are used. This increases their effectiveness in meeting specific priorities.
A range of different types of support is offered by the menu of Rural Development measures to address the many needs of the rural areas of the European Union. Member states have to programme these measures to ensure that they help to achieve one or more European Union priorities for Rural Development and to meet the needs of rural areas.
Member states have a certain discretion regarding the final design of these measures. The support granted under each measure is shared between the European Union and the member state concerned. This arrangement is known as co-financing.
Single common market organisation (sCMO)A common market organisation is a set of measures that enables the European Union to monitor and manage, either directly or indirectly (via producer organisations supported by operational programmes), the markets of agricultural products. The rules are laid down in the regulation on the single common market organisation.
The purpose of market management is to stabilise markets (in terms of quantity offered and purchased and the price at which transactions take place) and thus to ensure, on the one hand, that farmers do not suffer from excessively low prices and, on the other, that consumers have a secure supply of food at reasonable prices.
Until 2007, the European Union operated 21 common market organisations which together covered around 90% of the output of farms. With a view to make things simpler, the European Union has amalgamated these 21 common market organisations into a single set, known as the single common market organisation.
Small Farmer SchemaThis is a simplified direct payment scheme granting a payment, the level of which is determined by the member state but not exceeding 1250 EUR, to those farmers who decide to participate in the scheme. The small farmers scheme includes simplified administrative procedures. Participating farmers are exempt from greening and cross-compliance sanctions and controls.
Member states may allocate up to 10% of their direct payment allocation to this scheme.
Transitional national aid (TNA)Introduced for the first time in 2013 in those new member states applying the single area payment scheme and receiving a full level of direct payments. Member states applying the single area payment scheme are allowed to continue to grant national aids under the same conditions that previously applied to complementary national direct payments but subject to gradual reduction.
Voluntary coupled supportMember States will have the option of providing limited amounts of "coupled" payments (between 8% and 13 % of the national envelope) to those sectors or those regions where specific types of farming or specific agricultural sectors undergo certain difficulties and are particularly important for economic and/or social and/or environmental reasons. The Commission has flexibility to approve a higher rate where justified. Besides, there is a possibility of providing an additional 2% "coupled" support for protein crops.
Quality assurance (QA)The set of activities whose purpose is to demonstrate that an entity meets all quality requirements (mostly producer’s perspective) ISO 9000 – series “Quality Management System – Requirements”
Quality control (QC):The set of activities or techniques whose purpose is to ensure that all quality requirements are being met (often client’s perspective) ISO2859 & ISO3951 series “sampling procedures” attributes/variables
Young farmerA person who is 40 years of age or less at the moment of submitting an application for aid, who possesses adequate occupational skills and competence and who is setting up for the first time in farming as head of the holding.