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Agriculture and rural development

Sustainable agriculture in the EU

Agriculture occupies a unique position at the heart of the European Union’s society, environment and economy.

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is built around three main goals to achieve a sustainable system of agriculture in the EU: 

  • economic sustainability, 
  • environmental sustainability, and 
  • the social sustainability of farms.  

To meet these three main goals, EU countries use a wide range of targeted actions, which aim to address each country’s specific needs and make up CAP Strategic Plans. Through these plans, EU countries provide income support to farmers, support them in the transition towards sustainable production, and contribute towards the ambitions of the EU Green Deal.

Scene at a farmers' market - farmer hands vegetables to a customer

The CAP supports rural communities and facilitates the essential roles that agriculture and forestry play in wider society.

a female farmer standing in a cowshed
Agriculture and forestry can provide sustainable economic rewards for farmers, forest managers, and the EU as a whole.
two people examining plants, one holds a digital device
Learn about EU research projects and actions to promote innovation in agriculture and rural areas, as well as funding opportunities.
a collage of trees, wood pellets and sheep
EU support for forestry through rural development funds, the forest strategy for 2030, and innovation in forestry.
A hand holding a phone with a field of plants on the screen

Rules and measures to regulate and support the digitalisation of agriculture and rural areas.

A European Green Deal

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Related links

Making the EU food supply chain from farm to fork more sustainable: for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.

Support for farming practices that contribute to EU environmental and climate goals.