On 22 May 2018, EU adopted a new set of rules making evolving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from the on-the-spot check system to the 2020+ monitoring era. The CAP came into force in 1962 to ensure affordable food for European citizens and a fair standard of living for farmers. While this philosophy remains at the heart of the policy, the focus is now also firmly on sustainability, environmental protection, biodiversity and the climate.
The paradigm shift to the CAP monitoring approach will rely on the recent Copernicus satellites to inform farmers on their practices and status in time to fulfil their compliancy for a number of environmental requirements under the CAP, such as planting of catch crops or maintenance of grasslands.
The Sentinels for Common Agriculture Policy (Sen4CAP) project funded by the European Space Agency in close collaboration with DG-Agri, DG-Grow and DG-JRC and led by UCLouvain, is currently demonstrating at national scale over six countries how timely information provided at parcel-level by the Sentinels 1 and 2 missions can support this innovative CAP monitoring approach. First evidence was successfully presented by Sen4CAP together with the Joint Research Center in March to the EU member states in the Committee for Direct Payments coordinated by DG-Agri.