Important legal notice
AGRILIFE- Agriculture and life sciences in the economy
SUSTAG - Sustainable Agriculture

Within the framework of the sustainable agriculture strategy of the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC), the SUSTAG action provides support to the European policymaking process, and acts as a solid platform for scientific networks in the EU Member States, and Associated and Candidate Countries.


The aim of SUSTAG is to assess the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on European farming and rural areas, addressing two distinct areas:

  • Sustainability of farming systems along the economic (mainly viability and competitiveness issues), social, and environmental dimensions. Issues like the future of subsistence farming, off-farm investment, organic and other alternative faming systems belong to this area;
  • Rural development covers the economics of rural resources and the economic regeneration of rural areas. Broader issues like social justice and nature conservation are taken into account, as is the extent to which they affect the behaviour of economic agents. The role of multifunctional agriculture in rural development is studied in this section. Great emphasis is placed on characterisation of rural areas, rural typology, rural economy including non-agricultural economy and prospects of overall rural development.

Providing policy analysis, a part of SUSTAG research, focuses on institutions and governance in both areas.

SUSTAG facilitates contacts and the exchange of experience between experts from the enlarged EU. Within the JRC Enlargement Action expert workshops are held regularly bringing together representatives of academia, policymakers and other stakeholders.


Action Leader: Sergio Gomez y Paloma



The activities aim to support EC services (including DG AGRI) in assessing the impact of Policy measures (mainly the CAP reform) on (economic) sustainability at farm level, including (semi-) subsistence, in order to understand the distribution and characteristics of farming systems at regional level (including New Member States), identify the key drivers, and to assess their contribution to meeting (economic) sustainability goals. The impact of the Single Farm Payment on farmers’ investment strategies, including both on- and off-farm activities, is also analysed.

This project line provides DG AGRI with policy and economic analysis of the European food supply chain. The research aims to (i) identify the driving forces of the EU25 food industry development and their impact on production and trade, and (ii) analyse the advisability of a Community legal framework for the protection of food quality and certification schemes. Future research on food quality will include New Member States and Candidate Countries.
The activities focus on the socio-economic dimension of sustainable rural development following three themes: (i) indicators of sustainable rural development and typology of rural areas, (ii) modelling rural economies and the assessment of policy impacts, and (iii) institutions and governance of rural development.
Joint Research Centre