29 May, 2012. Legume Futures presentation to an agricultural policy conference in the European Parliament
Christine Watson (SAC) represented Legume Futures at a conference in the European Parliament on crop rotations on May 29. The meeting, organised by Friends of the Earth Europe, the Pesticide Action Network Europe and the organic food and farming group, IFOAM EU, was hosted by Austrian MEP Karin Kadenbach and German MEP Martin Häusling. Mr Häusling has led debate on protein crops in the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
‘Greening’ and the proposals to link 30% of the farm support payments to on-farm measures to enhance the environment was the focus of the meeting. These ‘greening’ measures include a requirement that parts of the farmed area (suggested 7%) are actively managed for ecosystem benefits, that permanent pasture is protected, and that cropping is diversified.
Christine Watson made it clear that increasing diversity of cropping brings benefits, especially if species from different plant families, including legumes, are grown in sequence. Current debate centres on a requirement to have three different crops on a farm with no one crop cover exceeding 70% or being less than 5%. These measures are mild and are unlikely to have an impact on legume production, or annual cropping generally, especially if diversity in time (e.g. rotations) are not required.