Standards, revenues: what the Senate voted in favor of farmers in 2023 - Public Senate

Standards, revenues: what the Senate voted in favor of farmers in 2023 – Public Senate

What legislative response to respond to the anger of the agricultural world in turmoil? In the Senate, the parliamentary initiatives launched in response to farmers’ difficulties are countless. One of the most important of these is the adoption of the law on May 23, 2023, “for a shock to competitiveness in favor of the French farm”. This text, the result of a trans-party information mission carried out in 2022, is based on the observation that the loss of speed in agriculture is the result of “too many standards, excessive burdens and a growing need for investment and innovation”.

Better incomes, fewer standards, the fight against unfair competition abroad: the copy released by the Senate, which has not yet reached the agenda of the National Assembly, resonates with the orders of farmers in recent months.

Creation of a special fund to support competitiveness

In terms of strategy, the text proposes in particular the creation of sustainable competitiveness plans for the agricultural and food sector every five years and the creation of a special fund to support the competitiveness of agricultural sectors in difficulty.

In terms of financing, the bill advocates the creation of a regulated savings book “Agrobooklet” to facilitate access to credit for farmers and access to farmland for youth. A tax credit is introduced to facilitate investments in mechanization.

The principle of not going beyond European texts

The intention of the text is also to control taxes and social charges. Key measures: raising the tax exemption thresholds for agricultural income (agricultural micro-profit) or indexing the income tax exemption thresholds to inflation.

As far as standards are concerned, the proposal introduces the principle of not transposing European texts unless there is sufficient general interest. The point is clearly to avoid taking measures beyond what is expressly provided for.

Option to suspend withdrawal of pesticide in case of no alternative and competitive threat

A symbolic article of the law gives the Minister of Agriculture the option to suspend the decision to withdraw pesticides from ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety) in case there is no solid alternative and if the withdrawal would cause distortion. competition with the rest of the European Union. In the case of withdrawal of a phytosanitary preparation, the senate text imposes on the state the obligation to finance the technical and research support of the experts concerned.

A five-year experiment is also proposed with the aim of waiving the ban on drone spraying with phytosanitary preparations on certain agricultural areas (sloping land or within precision agriculture).

On the use of water – another important issue in agriculture – the article highlights the main general interest in agricultural work on water collection and storage. However, the basin must respect the shared use of water.

Changes to the Labor Code are also planned. The agricultural sector would be included among the priority sectors in tension, and voluntary departments would have the opportunity to experimentally offer JAR beneficiaries a combination of a contribution and a paid activity. The senators also want to exclude operators producing seasonal products from applying the bonus-malus to short contracts.

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