In June 2022, the European Commission submitted a proposal to expand EU Member States’ obligation to provide information about farm sustainability indicators. The Netherlands generally supports the proposal, though there are some concerns around proposal elements, such as introducing a farm ID, special surveys, legally requiring farms to provide the requested information, and requiring the EU Member States to give financial compensation to agricultural companies.
Since 1965, all EU Member States are legally required to collect, verify, and submit economic and accounting data about agricultural holdings. Each year, information from more than 80,000 farms across the EU is entered into the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Recently, the European Commission proposed to convert the FADN into a Farm Sustainability Data Network (IDL). The amendment aims to provide environmental and social data on farms in addition to economic and accounting data. The proposal is estimated to enter into force in 2025.
The Dutch Interministerial Working Group for the Assessment of New Commission Proposals (BNC) expressed support for the aim of the amendment. In its technical sheet, the BNC recognized the importance of 'relevant and reliable data and accompanying sustainability and social policies.' At the same time, the working group expressed concerns about some of the accompanying changes outlined in the proposal.
First, it questioned the feasibility of introducing unique ‘farm IDs’ to enable links with other integrated agricultural statistics and information systems used by other member states. It also noted a lack of concrete outcomes regarding how proposed links will improve policymaking and evaluation, and guarantee participating companies’ privacy.
The working group believed existing regulations and opportunities for ad-hoc and periodic data collection in the European agricultural sector are sufficient, and expressed concerns that proposed 'special surveys' would increase administrative burdens. Similarly, the Netherlands questioned the necessity of a provision requiring farms to provide information, as most provide sufficient data voluntarily.
Finally, the working group expressed doubts about the proposal’s suggestion for member states to offer financial compensation for farmers’ participation, citing differences in member state data collection methods as grounds for different criteria for compensation.
The Netherlands remained open to the proposed legal requirements, however, if other member states find them important.
Article – AgriHolland (in Dutch)
Report – Dutch Interministerial Working Group (in Dutch)