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Aide Memoire

We expect that the following areas of law and policy will contain techniques for
identifying farmers. We have been able to find out several examples of these so far
from web and library based research, but there are others that are harder for us to
find because they are found in the regulations of social welfare schemes for
example. We will need to have lots of written ‘evidence’ concerning these
methods for finding farmers. Please make sure that you have copies of any
relevant laws and regulations, details of any national schemes for distributing
grant aid to farmers, photocopies of local agricultural registers etc.

1. Farmer Registration Schemes

What we want here are details of official programmes for registering agricultural
producers. In some countries, Bulgaria for example, separate laws have been
introduced to establish a national agricultural producer list, whereas in others,
farmers are simply obliged to register under the Commercial Code. We want both
the details of such schemes as well as any information that you can find about how
they work in practice.

1. Is there a separate law for registering private agricultural producers?


2. If so, when was it brought in and what were the main reasons for its
introduction?
3. If not, are private agricultural producers obliged to register under the
provisions of the commercial code?
4. Who is entitled/expected to register under these schemes?
5. What conditions do they have to meet, for example, what documents do they
need to supply to the agency in charge?
6. How much does it cost to register?
7. For what purpose are the lists used?
8. What are the penalties for not registering?
9. What benefits come from being on the list?

2. Tax legislation

There is a huge volume of agriculturally related regulation, our focus is broken


down into three separate areas – farm incomes, tax relief schemes and land taxes.

A. Farm incomes

1. Is there a separate system for calculating taxes on incomes that are derived
from agricultural work?
2. If so, how does it work? What counts as agricultural income?
3. What are the tax rates that apply?
4. Are there any special provisions for the payment of the tax? For example, can
the tax be paid by instalments after harvest?
5. Are there any other special requirements for taxing farming incomes, for
example, does the person need to be officially registered as a farmer in order to
qualify?

B. Tax Relief Schemes

Here, we want to find out about Value Added Tax schemes and the exemptions
and special rates that they have for agriculture. In the Slovak formula, these
schemes offer state support for “economically and socially desirable activities”,
so, in this spirit, we want to find out about the support offered to smaller farmers.

1. What agricultural goods and services are exempt from VAT?


2. How does the system work in practice, for example, is the VAT first paid and
then reclaimed?
3. In order to be exempt does the producer have to meet any particular conditions
such as being officially registered as a farmer?
4. Are there any other conditions to the exemptions, for example, exemptions
only applicable to certain amounts of produce sold, with anything above this
limit being taxable at the full rate?

C. Land Taxes

1. Is there a system for taxing agricultural land?


2. If so, how is it calculated?
3. Is there a lower limit and an upper limit?
4. Are there different rates for different kinds of land? For example higher rates
for more fertile land.
5. Who is obliged to pay these taxes? For example, if the land is rented out, is the
renter obliged to pay them?
6. Are there any exemptions or special rates? For example, lower rates for those
under a certain age who are juts beginning farming?

3. Grants, Vouchers and Direct Payments

This is a broad category. We only want to look at public money that has been
given out here. Basically we are interested in the criteria used to decide who is
eligible for these kind of payments. We divide the categories into crop based
payments, livestock based payments and investment based payments. We are
interested to see whether the conditions to these grants serve to exclude a whole
range of would-be private farmers, or, alternatively, include a whole range of
producers who grow primarily for themselves.

A. Crop based schemes

There are going to be all kinds of payments for a huge array of crops so in order to
make things more manageable, we will limit investigation to payments for cereals,
vegetables and oilseeds.

1. Are there national schemes for making payments to farmers growing these
crops?
2. If so, how does the scheme work? Are there lower limits for example,
payments will only be made to those growing above a certain amount?
3. Are there special conditions concerning eligibility, for example, payments will
only be made to legal persons or otherwise officially recognised producers?
4. Who is charge with administering these schemes?
5. Have there been major changes in these schemes over the past five years? In
Romania, for example, the current government has drastically changed the
scope of its voucher system; previously, farmers cultivating 0.5 hectares and
above were entitled to vouchers, now, they have to have at least 10 hectares
before they qualify.
6. On what basis are these payments calculated? Where does the information
come from - the farmer, the local authority, the cadastre, the agricultural
census?

B. Livestock Production Supports

In relation to livestock based payments, again do not look at all the payments, only
the eligibility criteria relating to sheep, poultry and pigmeat payments.

1. What are the criteria for accessing such payments?


2. What are the upper and lower limits for these schemes? Does the producer
have to have over a certain number of animals?
3. Does an applicant for these funds have to be a registered producer?
4. Who administers these schemes?
5. Have there been major changes in these schemes over the past five years?
6. On what information basis are these payments calculated?

C. Agricultural investment grants

In this area we are looking for details of payment schemes available to farmers for
things like agricultural machinery, new buildings or land improvement schemes.
1. What are the criteria for accessing such payments? For example, does an
applicant for these funds have to be a registered producer?
2. Who administers these schemes?
3. Have there been major changes in these schemes over the past five years?
4. On what information basis are these payments calculated?

There are anecdotal accusations that the smaller farmers don’t get to hear about
these kinds of grants or that if they do they don’t have the skills to access the
money. If you know of any such studies, or come across any, please let us know.

4. Social Welfare Schemes

In some countries there are separate social insurance schemes which are designed
specifically for farmers. As these are bound to have a significant impact of farm
incomes we want information on their main features.

1. Is there a separate state welfare scheme designed specifically to support


farmer’s incomes?
2. If so, who is entitled to become a member?
3. What are its main features, for example, is the rate of contribution different
from other National Insurance schemes?
4. In what circumstances can someone claim benefits under such a scheme?
5. What might exclude someone from these benefits? For example, if someone
owns some land, can they still claim under the scheme?
6. What about the case where someone lives in a household that owns some land,
but does not actually own any himself or herself. Would such a person still be
entitled to receive welfare payments under the farm insurance scheme?
7. What are the main rules for claiming a pension under these schemes? For
example, does the beneficiary have to transfer his or her land to someone who
will continue to cultivate the land?

5. Environmental/Agricultural Production standards

The EU’s acquis comunitaire has a great deal to say about environmental
protection, animal welfare and food quality standards. Although these laws are or
will be incorporated into each country’s domestic legislation, our question is do
they apply to all agricultural producers, right down to the pensioner who owns
three quarters of a hectare and sells the odd thing at market? Are there not
exemptions or modified versions that apply to smaller producers? In order not to
get lost in the detail, we must be careful to focus on the ways that these regulations
can distinguish commercial producers from subsistence growers. Our own feeling
is that there are going to be thousands of regulations to do with plant hygiene,
environmental protection, animals so you might want to use your contacts and
simply come up with a few case studies which give some idea about the impact of
incorporating the acquis. Maybe, it would be best done by interviewing someone
in charge with enforcing these regulations and asking them whether they think
these regulations are going to have a significant impact on small producers. Are
the costs of following these new regulations going to be so high that they
effectively shut out these smaller producers? One of our suspicions, is that there
are going to be significant costs associated with complying with these regulations
and that the question of exemptions or special conditions could be an important
indication of what type of farmer the authorities consider to be a future
agricultural producer.
So given all this, we would suggest that this section is best done by arranging a
couple of interviews with local agricultural officials to ask them about the main
legal framework, any exemptions or special conditions and the actual practice of
enforcing these laws. How is that actually done?

6. Property Law

In this area we are interested to see how far the state land register can be used as a
method for finding farmers. There are two reasons for asking. First, land registers
have been used in the past as the basis for distributing subsidies, for example the
Romanian agricultural voucher scheme in 1997-98 and second, property titles are
often used in the distribution of direct payments in the EU, for example, the
Integrated Administration and Control Scheme. Some problems with the cadastral
system have already been recorded in the literature – high costs leading to non-
registration especially amongst smaller producer. Given this, it would be
interesting to see exactly when the land register is used as a basis for providing
support for the farming sector.

1. Please outline the main features of the land registration scheme in respect of
agricultural land.
2. Which property rights are recorded? So for example, although the name of the
owner will undoubtedly be there, what about anyone who rents the land? Are
they able to register their interests?
3. What information is recorded about the land? For example, does the entry in
the register show whether the land is pasture land, arable land or meadow?
4. What are the procedures for registering property rights? How much does it
cost to register change of ownership for example?
5. Apart from those examples already collected, please indicate any other
circumstances in which an owner might be asked to produce his or her property
title.

It would be good to have some idea about rates of compliance with these laws, so
any reports or studies about the enforcement of these laws would be appreciated.
7. Planning Law

1. Does the application of planning law, in particular, legislation concerning ‘less


favoured zones’ have any effect on smaller farmers, for example, on the taxes
that farmers pay or the [crop, livestock, investment] payments they might
receive?
2. Is there any general obligation under planning law for owners of agricultural
land to cultivate it?
3. If so, what are the main features of this obligation?
4. Does it apply to all owners regardless of the size of the land in question?
5. Does it apply to those who are the paper owners or those who are actually
using the land, a renter for example?

8. The Agricultural Census

Here we are after information collected as part of the 5 yearly or 10 yearly


national agricultural census plus any other official local censuses that might be
collected. For example, in Romania, an agricultural register is collected annually
in every comuna recording household land sizes, crops grown, animals kept etc.
As there were sometimes problems with relying on information contained in the
land register, in practice and for the purpose of verifying claims for subsidies, this
local agricultural register was used as a more accurate reflection of who owned
what.

1. In the last two national agricultural censuses, what information was collected
about farm sizes? What was the lower limit?
2. How have these size categories changed over the past 15 years, if at all?
3. In the national census, is there any attempt to distinguish between commercial
and subsistence farms?
4. If so, on what basis?
5. In the local registers, how often is information about rural households and their
land collected?
6. How is it collected?
7. What kind of information is collected?
8. For what purposes are the local register used?

All of the above questions are suggestions. They cover areas that we think would
contain information that could be used to find farmers. If in the course of your
research, if you come up with other areas that you think offer another important
method for finding the farmers, please let us know and we will add it to this list.
Thanks
Scheme of work

This just sets out the basic arrangements

What we ask for:

1. Collection of data addressing all the questions set out in the Aide Memoire
2. That the submission of data is in English.
3. That all sources of information are recorded.
4. That information is submitted in an ongoing manner rather than all at the June
workshop.
5. Any relevant laws, regulations, schemes, registers etc are photocopied and the
relevant sections translated.
6. Collection of any academic articles, reports of studies relating to the problem
of defining/finding farmers
7. Presentation of that data at a workshop in Liverpool in June 2002.

What we offer

1. Fee of £800 to cover work done and expenses incurred.


2. Payment of one quarter of this fee in advance.
3. Travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses relating to the June
workshop.

AC and NS February 11th 2002