Challenges & Tips


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We are developing a result-based payment sheme and want to reward farmers (with public funding) for the results they achieve, rather than the costs and income forgone. The economists of the public administration however say they are limited to the latter because of the EU state aid and WTO rules. How can we move forward with this?

The most appropriate way at the moment is to calculate a maximum score based on costs and income forgone and then give proportions of it to lower scores. This report from the UK discusses a number of options and comes to conclusion that applying income foregone and costs incurred in flexible manner is workable (see page 70 and 71). 

What is the scope of results-based payment schemes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from land?

Most of current RBPS are focused on biodiversity. But there are some programmes and pilot schemes which focuse on CO² reduction. For example in the Montado (Portugal) they use indicators (type of vegetation cover) for measuring "soil health". Within the CONSOLE project there are two case studies which deal with carbon sequestration, available here (CONSOLE FACTSHEETS_D2.1). DG Clima intitiated a study on carbon farming which aims to delliver guidance for setting up and implementing results-based carbon farming schemes in Europe.

How expensive are the transaction costs in RBPS because of all the monitoring that is involved?

The Burren Programme in Ireland showed that transaction costs are quite cheap, they are 8 % of the overall costs and compared to traditional action based payment systems they are three times less expensive. Once RBP systems are set up they are quite efficient because the monitoring is inbuilt.

How can a results-based payment scheme be controlled by the paying agency as they are used to control measures?

Develop a system of verifying results and controlling results-based payments that meets EU requirements, and train paying agency staff in its use. If you are interested we help to establish contact to the Austrian paying agency (Agrarmarkt Austra) which has experience in controlling results based schemes (Results-based nature conservation plan).

What are suitable results indicators?

See example of existing projects and read guidance documents below. Indicators must be well correlated with the biodiversity objective, are relatively stable and respond to management but are not unduly influenced by factors beyond the farmer’s control and are easy to measure

We want to develop a results-based payment scheme in our agri-environmental program, but there is only low acceptance by farmers. How can we reach enough farmers?

Use the ‘freedom to farm’ that results-based schemes allow to build farmers’ acceptance, understanding of and interest in environmental land management. Watch advisory film below about how to involve farmers.

Guidance documents



Step-by-step guide to designing results-based payment schemes

In order to decide if results-based payment structures are appropriate in a particular situation this handbook explains in detail what results-based payments are and provides guidance on where and when they may be appropriate to use. In addition, throughout this handbook various examples are given to guide readers to additional information (Maher et al., 2018).

Download General Guidance Handbook (pdf-file).


Designing and implementing results-based agri-environment schemes 2014-2020

This Guidance Handbook was designed to support the development of results-based agri-environment payment schemes across the EU (Keenleyside et al., 2014).

Download Handbook (pdf-file).


Learn about how schemes have been developed across Member States and what have been the key factors in their design.

Advisory film presenting guidance about how to involve farmers in results-based agri-environment payment schemes.

Understand how biodiversity has been put at the heart of results-based schemes and the impact this has had.

Hear about RBP scheme in France, Germany and The Netherlands..

German case study featuring a results-based approach to biodiversity conservation.