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Mountain farming

Mountainous rural areas face particular challenges and have specific needs in respect to other rural areas. In the current EU agricultural policy context they are included in the designation of Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) because they are generally characterised by a short growing season (because of a high altitude), or by steep slopes at a lower altitude, or by a combination of the two.

Such conditions pose challenges for agriculture and the rural economy in these areas Specific support instruments have been developed by the EU which are targeted at mountain rural areas, and these include rural development policy measures.

The RDPs and Mountain Farming

As part of a wider review process being conducted by DG AGRI, the ENRD Contact Point undertook a review of the RDP support currently available for mountain areas and mountain farming. Outcomes from the review were featured in the following reports:

  • Commission Staff Working Document "Peak Performance" [PDF ]
  • ENRD Mountain Farming Screening working paper [PDF ]

New forms of special support are proposed for mountain areas in the next (2014-2020) period of EU rural development policy. This includes the opportunity for RDPs to include dedicated sub programmes for mountain areas. See the new proposals at:

A short guide to the European Commission’s proposals for EU rural development after 2013 [PDF ]

Browse the RDP project database to find projects relevant to mountain areas

Further information about EU mountain areas and rural development

  • Euromontana (one of the members of the ENRD) promotes living mountains, integrated and sustainable development and quality of life in mountain areas. Find out more about Euromontana contributions to EU rural development, including findings from their project and research activity, at
  • The European Environment Agency has prepared useful information about the land management needs of EU mountain ecosystems. See their report on the topic at: