Anja Herkner
Institute of Rural Studies

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599

What impact do agri-environmental programs have?


Flowering stripes  (c) Jan
Flowering stripes border a grain field. (© Jan

Analysis of the impact of agri-environmental programs

Farmers must lead the way: they must care for flowering areas, fertilize with improved technology, and farm organically if agri-environmental programs are to make an impact in protecting the climate and the environment.

Our job is, on the one hand, to estimate the total impact of agri-environmental programs on the environment, and on the other hand, how the programs influence conditions for a competitive and sustainable agriculture. We carry out the necessary analyses. They are based on statistics, monitoring and bookkeeping data and include various parts of the Federal Republic of Germany and comparisons to other EU member states. From this information we derive recommendations for the further development of agri-environment programs.

Background and Objective

In the framework of EU agricultural policy, agri-environmental measures are challenged to pursue among other things, protection goals for water, soil, climate and biodiversity. Both the aims and the framework conditions change over the course of time and must be adapted to new challenges.

Based on our projects, we formulate recommendations as to how the already running measures can be more effectively and efficiently shaped, and which new measures should be included in the agri-environmental program.


We gain a comprehensive overview about the possible spectrum of measures, because we don’t just compare them directly, as is done in different federal states and the EU countries using agri- environmental measures, but we also work together with the stakeholders in agricultural practice to realize own projects and continuously research current literature on the topic.

The attractiveness of this project is that a great deal of information comes together and is used to create the most efficient measures. Efficiency means in this context, that the greatest possible environmental impact is attained with the funds invested. Here the personnel costs in the public administration, advisory costs and the expenses for farmers who implement the measures are the decisive factors.

Data and Methods

We evaluate the professional literature and draw conclusions based on agricultural statistical surveys and single farm data as well as information from monitoring programs and, to some extent, also on expert surveys.


Following the EU Agricultural Reform in 2014, it must be newly assessed how the agri-environmental programs must be conducted and which emphases are to be set. Newly introduced are components for organification, so-called “greening”. This raised the challenge of how to shape measures in the future. IT will be important to consider how the use of available funding can shift to climate protection.

As a result of project tasks to date, we were able to, for example, put together an extensive catalog of water protection measures providing professionals in the field, as well as policy-makers, with a comprehensive overview of the costs and effects of the current agri-environmental measures. Furthermore we could statistically prove positive environmental effects of agri-environmental measures on the basis of empirical studies based on single farm bookkeeping and monitoring data.


Involved Thünen-Partners


1.2001 - 12.2019

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

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