Land farming subsidies


ive got a feww hectares of land that im thinking of arable farming; id like to know how can i apply for a subsidy to farm the land, what the subsidy will amount to, whether the subsidy is discretionary and what conditions apply

any info/leads most welcome


thanks to all, most informative, especially for sharing your experience Tim


Hi Andy,

Apart from running the LeLingo bilingual helpline I am also a registered farmer here in France since 2002. Helen Franklin's answer is the most complete so far with one notable exception. As well as being a registered farmer with the MSA (Mutuelle Sociale Agricole) which you must be to exploit your land as a business, you will also have to be registered with your local Chambre d'Agriculture. The land you wish to cultivate must also have been declared for EU subsidies BEFORE the end of 1992 otherwise it will not be eligible for subsidies even if you become a registered "Exploitation Agricole" or "Chef d'Entreprise Agricole". A further complication will be that in your department there will be a minimum surface of "terres"* under your ownership or control for you to be able to register - even if you qualify in all other areas. I know this because I have been through the "hoops" in the Lot for my own 23 hectares and have helped other people register.

A further complication is that to become a registered farmer in France you will need to prove you have the qualifications for it before you can be accepted and registered, rather like the Chambre des Métiers where an Artisan has to prove relevant qualifications OR experience before he or she can register. This is why there is so much opposition in France to the Auto Entrepreneur status who do not have to prove their bona-fides to be able to work and pay a reduced tax and social charge rate for, now at least, the first three years.

Finally, beware the trap of renting your land to a neighbouring farmer so that he exploits it 'for you' and you get a small income from it. You may/will find that you cannot get him off the land and, if you decide to sell, depending on your individual circumstances there may be some serious capital gains surprises for you at the point of completion.

In my experience, both in the UK and here in France subsidies are like a double edged sword often taking more in the long run than is given.

I hope that information is useful and wish you good luck.


* Your relevé de parcelles in you title deeds should indicate what the official designation of each part of your land is. If they are not "terres" then they are no good for arable or cultivation anyway.

Plus if you are thinking of ging into arable, it will not be economical for you to buy your own machinery. You will almost certainly have to share with other small farmers or get in a contractor, which is expensive and they probably would not be interested in such a small amount of land.

Why arable?

You can plant trees on your land if you want to. We have the same amount of land as you and our sale had to be approved by SAFR.

We have a forage we use to water our trees, so sorry we have not had to go down that route.

I would go to the mairie.

The best way to get sensible information is to see your local chambre de agriculture, subsidies vary considerably depending on what you do but most arable crops are hectare based (DPU)and you can purchase them or in certain cases, (young farmer scheme) apply to national reserve.You have to be registered as a farmer and pay cotisations to MSA to be eligible for anything and will be subject to fairly regular inspections into all aspects of your business, and penalties will be applied if they are not satisfied.

Hi Andy - please upload a photo. Thanks.

I know it doesn't answer your question, but one question bugs me a bit: why would you want to farm the land if it's not profitable to do so without subsidies? There must be cheaper ways to fill up your spare time without trying to get back some of Cameron's payments into the EU.... ;-)

But anyways, on-topic: check the I-net references regarding FEADER (French for "European funds for the rural development"), they will give you a number of possibilities plus the forms to apply for a subsidy for an ailing agricultural business..

Just type in EU agricultural subsidies on Google and no doubt it will flash up toute suite.

Hi Brian

thanks for the info;appreciated; re comparable farms, ive heard about a database showing the amount of subsidy of farms in specific regions within the EU; i believe its public domain but have no idea how it can be accessed, i guess over the web somehow


There are separate irrigation hydrants, always by roadsides but you need to have the water supply connected by pipeline to your irrigation. I have no idea whether it applies to trees at all. We still have the system to our land because it was once tobacco but are only growing meadow grass which is collected for hay by a local farmer. Irrigation for hay is not allowed for sure. You should ask your maire.

Anybody notice what the spell check did first time round?

re farming , does anybody know how to get access to the agricultural water system ?

my property is surrounded by it and was the original farm in the valley since sold off without the farmland but i have 1.5 hectares which could be planted with fruit trees etc.

would be interesting to know whats involved - no doubt a lot of hassle

They are based on EU farm subsidies. The French system allocates to communes to allocate down to farmers. Very few small farmers receive more that €5000 a year, at the bottom of the line they go in hundreds rather than thousands. We know from the man we bought from who built a house just down the road, that his subsidy for around 40h he keeps in use is less than €3000. You also need to use your land for your main produce for a couple of years before they can assess what you will need unless there is a farmer with exactly the same volume of land and crops. It is one of the reasons why almost nobody is going into farming and gig landowners are gradually buying up from smaller.