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Ag input restrictions in EU’s Farm2Fork initiative could hurt global production

A recent study by the USDA Economic Research Service shows potential negative impacts to the global market if the European Union and/or other countries adopt the EU’s Farm2Fork strategy.

At the heart of the proposed European Green Deal, the strategy focuses on policies, funding, and research to make food systems more sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

ERS Senior Economist Jayson Beckman tells Brownfield their study focused on the EU’s plans to reduce pesticide use by 50%, fertilizer by 20% and agricultural land use by 10%.  He says the restriction of ag inputs could have a domino effect.

“So, you see production falling because they can’t use as much fertilizer and pesticides. If production goes down prices are going to go up. Higher prices lead to higher food costs and trade is impacted because you have less product available to export and so globally prices would go up.”

He says their research suggests global food security would decrease if any or all countries implement the strategy.

“The number of food insecure people could increase an additional 22 million people if the EU is the only region who adopts the strategy, but it could go up to 185 million people if everyone in the world adopted the strategies.”

Beckman estimates if the EU adopts the strategy the US would see an increase in ag production of less than one percent to fill the gap. If all countries, including the US, adopted the strategy he estimates US ag production would fall 9% with grain taking the biggest hit.

Beckman says the EU’s progress in adopting the strategy has stalled but it is being widely debated as they work to move forward with it.

Interview with Jayson Beckman

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