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Agriculture and rural development
News article12 April 2024BrusselsDirectorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development3 min read

Simplification survey sheds light on the specific issues faced by farmers across the EU

© European Union, 2024

Today, the European Commission presented the preliminary results of its simplification survey for farmers. Available online in all languages from 7 March to 8 April, the survey received close to 27 000 replies. A detailed analysis of the replies received will follow in the second half of the year.

The survey was part of the actions taken by the Commission to respond to farmers’ concerns and it was directed specifically at farmers to identify the administrative burden and complexity stemming from CAP rules as well as other rules for food and agriculture, both in relation to their application at national level and also to the recording and reporting obligations linked to them. The survey and the subsequent analysis should also identify areas where improvements could be made to reduce administrative work for farmers.

A short presentation of the preliminary results was made at the occasion of the workshop on governance and performance, gathering members of the Civil Dialogue Group on CAP Strategic Plans and Horizontal Matters, Member State representatives of the expert group on the implementation of the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation as well as representatives of national paying agencies.


Among the respondents, 81% were farmers applying for CAP support while the rest of respondents were farmers not applying for CAP support (16%) or farm advisors and other entities. 36% of farmers replying were between 50 and 64 years-old and 48% between 30 and 49 years-old. Very small farms of less than 5 hectares were represented by 10% of the respondents while 39% are working in farms from 5 to 50 hectares. As a reminder, the average farm size in the European Union is 17.4 hectares. The types of production most represented were cereals and other field crops, followed by beef and dairy, wine and olive oil.

First insights

The survey revealed that 33% of respondents work more than 6 days every year on administrative tasks linked to applications for CAP aid, including documentation for conditionality. For 24% of them, it is 5 to 6 days, then 1 to 4 working days for 38% of participating farmers. A very large share of farmers applying for CAP support (78%) also use some type of outside help to prepare and submit their CAP aid application. The help is provided by farmers’ association and cooperatives in 36% of the cases, by private companies such as consultancies or banks (25%) or by public authorities for 18% of the respondents.

Half of the respondents applying for CAP support are not using mobile devices to provide geo-tagged photos to the authorities. Out of the 50% using mobile devices for this purpose, about half has issues with it, in particular because they find it time consuming, not easy to use or lack feedback on the accuracy of the picture provided.  

Regarding on-site checks in the last 3 years, 36% of farms covered in the survey were visited once while 16% of farms received at least 3 visits. These visits may also include inspections not related to the CAP. Preparing and following up on these on-site checks required between half a day and one day of work for 63% of farmers checked. In its simplification proposals, the Commission announced that it will simplify the methodology for certain checks, aiming to reduce the number of on-farm visits by national administrations by up to 50%. This measure directly responds to requests from Member States. With fewer visits from the administration to manage, farmers will have more time to dedicate to their core work.

Individual interviews with farmers and farmers’ organisations will now be conducted to provide a more thorough overview of the situation and go more in-depth regarding the questions. It will feed into a detailed analysis to be published in Autumn 2024, aiming to clarify the sources of complexity for farmers: EU level, national level, CAP, and other requirements and policies.

For more information

Presentation of the first insights into the results of the simplification survey

Questionnaire of the simplification survey

The European Commission invites farmers to participate in online survey on simplification


Publication date
12 April 2024
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development