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Representation in Ireland
News article13 February 2024Representation in Ireland1 min read

European farmers exempted from rules on land lying fallow

The European Commission has officially adopted a regulation which grants a partial exemption for European farmers from the conditionality rule on land lying fallow.

Agricultural land with bale of hay

This follows the Commission's proposal presented on 31 January, and discussions with Member States in committee meetings. The Regulation will enter into force tomorrow, 14 February, and will apply retroactively as of 1 January for one year – that is, until 31 December 2024.

The partial exemption accommodates several requests for more flexibility, as requested by Member States to better respond to challenges facing EU farmers.

Instead of keeping land fallow or keeping unproductive features on 4% of their arable land, EU farmers growing nitrogen fixing crops (such as lentils, peas, or favas) and/or catch crops without plant protection products on 4% of their arable land will be considered as meeting the so-called GAEC 8 requirement. Those farmers who so decide can, however, continue fulfilling the requirement with land lying fallow or non-productive features.

The final act adopted also enables Member States to modify their eco-schemes that support non-productive areas to take into account the alternative baseline under GAEC 8 conditionality. A simple notification to the European Commission will be enough to immediately update the concerned eco-schemes. 

Member States who wish to apply the derogation at national level need to notify the Commission within 15 days of entry into force of the Regulation so that farmers can be informed as soon as possible.

The Commission proposal is carefully calibrated to provide the right balance between offering appropriate relief and flexibility to farmers facing numerous challenges on the one hand, and protecting biodiversity and soil quality on the other hand.

More Information:

Full press release


Publication date
13 February 2024
Representation in Ireland