Switching from price support to conservation support
Many countries wish to achieve at least self-sufficiency in as many food product as possible. This cuts down on expensive importing, increases food export earnings, and reduces national reliance on other countries. Agricultural production can be increased by providing farmers with economic incentives. However, this has or can lead to uneconomical over-production, unsustainable farming of existing and newly used unsuitable land such as marginal lands and environmental degradation. It is considered that such agricultural price support for production should be replaced with conservation support such as subsidies to remove marginal land out of production, protect uncultivated ecosystems, restore farm productivity, and adopt sustainable methods of production.
Under a provision in the European Community's farm structures regulation, the UK designates Environmentally Sensitive Areas to pay farmers to farm in traditional ways for the benefit of wildlife. Payments can be used for limiting fertilizer application, restricting agricultural land use change such as from grazing to cereals, controls over the dates at which meadows are cut for hay, woodland protection and management, and the restoration of archaeological sites.
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