EU support for small farms explained
The payment for small farmers (PSF) is a simplified income support intervention under the common agricultural policy (CAP). EU countries can implement this mechanism as follows:
on a voluntary basis,
in the form of an identical lump sum for all farmers, or
a payment per hectare.
The PSF replaces all other forms of income support payment, including:
the basic income support for sustainability (BISS),
the complimentary income support for young farmers (CISYF), and
the coupled income support (CIS).
The maximum level for the payment is decided at national level but may not exceed €1,250.
Farmers applying for the payment for small farmers cannot receive any other direct payment. The eligibility conditions are the same as for the BISS. Farmers must comply with the active farmer provisions and respect the minimum requirements referred to in Article 18 of the Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 establishing rules on support for CAP Strategic Plans.
Aims of the PSF
Small farms remain a cornerstone of EU agriculture as they play a vital role in supporting rural employment and contribute to territorial development. More than three quarters of farm holdings in the European Union are small – below 10 hectares – with a large number being below five hectares. The small size of these farms often increases the relative administrative burden of applying for income support.
The payment for small farmers does not exempt farmers from conditionality controls. However, EU countries may opt for a simplified control system for small farmers including for those farmers applying the PSF.
The purpose of the payments for small farmers is:
to promote more balanced distribution of support;
to contribute to the vitality and dynamics of rural areas, where small farms play an important economic role;
to reduce the administrative burden for both beneficiaries and managing authorities.