Following the money

The topic of subsidies is always a heated one in the farming world. Canadian farmers claim the Americans get too much support from their government. The Americans claim they need more to keep up with what the European governments give their farmers…and on and on it goes.

Here in Slovakia, subsidies are also an issue. The country has experienced an incredible structural evolution of its agricultural system since the fall of Communism almost twenty years ago.

Whereas before, the state controlled everything and mandated what farmers were to grow, when and how much, these days those decisions are left up to the farmers themselves – farmers who are as much at the mercy of free market forces as those in other countries.

Slovakia joined the EU in 2004 and the subsidy farmers receive now comes mostly from the EU – 50% to be precise. Farmers receive funding whether they farm their land or not, but can also receive dollars for specific projects or improvements related to production or environment.

As a result, the sign pictured here is one that is often seen – recognizing and thanking the official funding agents of various projects.

Lilian’s participation in the 2008 IFAJ Congress is funded in part by the IFAJ 2011 Development Initiative, supported by Pioneer Hi-bred and Syngenta.

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