New law puts Danish farmers on a slippery slope

March 11th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

By prohibiting the ploughing of sloping fields, the Danish government has overreacted to EU criticism, says expert

A new law will prohibit Danish farmers from ploughing fields with a gradient greater than 12 degrees during the autumn, affecting 15,000 hectares of sloping fields in small, hilly regions of Denmark.

However, although land like that costs around 150,000 kroner an acre, the new law will offer no provision for farmers whose fields will go unused. The new law is expected to affect at least 1,000 acres of land currently being used to grow cereal crops.

A red tape mess
Martin Douwe Egberts, the president of the Trade Association of Agriculture and Food (L&F), told Jyllands-Posten the new rule was "a bureautcratic mess" and "addresses a problem that does not exist".

However, the government has decided to introduce it following criticism from the EU Court of Auditors regarding its anti-erosion policies.

Denmark has gone too far

Legislation in Sweden and Germany banned the farming of sloped fields from September 15 to December 1, giving their farmers time to farm their fields before and after the cut-off deadline.

"The Danish authorities – again – have gone further than necessary and have adopted much more stringent rules than our neighbours," continued Egbert.

The new policy was influenced by research carried out by Aarhus University. Discussions will continue with the agricultural community regarding its implementation.


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