The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) is one of the seven scientific institutes of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). Its mission is to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making process by developing science-based responses to policy challenges that have both a socio-economic as well as a scientific/ technological dimension. As such, the IPTS promotes and enables a better understanding of the links between technology, economy and society. Within the AGRILIFE Unit, the Sustainable agriculture and rural development: the socio-economic dimension (SUSTAG) action focuses on the institutional, social, economic aspects of farming in the enlarged EU and in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Rural Development Policy. It analyses farmers' response to policy changes, emerging farmers' techniques, technological progress and market opportunities. With respect to sustainable agriculture, SUSTAG supports Commission Services in analysing the transition of agriculture from the high production paradigm to sustainable farming systems concentrating on the assessment of the farm-level impact of EU policies (particularly the CAP reform) from the socio-economic perspective. It also improves the understanding of how farmers can adopt environmentally sustainable practices under the economic pressure of competition and a variety of geographical, social and institutional settings across the EU.
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