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Abstract

Globalisation, climate- and demographic changes, as well as the current global financial crisis, are likely to have a strong influence on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These processes are closely related to the three dimensions (environment, society and economy) of sustainable development. Farmers across the EU are experiencing a period of change and uncertainty caused by changes to the CAP and compounded in the case of Hungary by EU accession. Theory suggests that the business development strategies of European farming households should be based on multifunctionality, diversification and pluri-activity. However, the farming community is not normally recognised for its ability to embrace change and in some regions support structures have been put in place to assist farmers to make the necessary transition. One such example was the „Agricultural Development in the Eastern Region” (ADER) project which was implemented in the East of England between 2000 and 2007 with the aim of helping farmers to identify new opportunities and develop alternative business approaches. In late 2006 and early 2007 ADER conducted a questionnaire survey amongst its clients on their attitudes towards environmental, economic and social sustainability in the light of probable future developments in agriculture, particularly with respect to CAP funding. For almost five years there has been increasing collaboration between rural development researchers in East of England (EE) and eastern Hungary, resulting in the establishment of an informal partnership called the Cross-Border Centre of Expertise in Rural Development (HVTK). In early 2008, the ADER questionnaire was translated into Hungarian and distributed to farmers in the Northen Great Plain Region (NGP). This paper compares the attitudes of farmers in the two regions to sustainability in the light of anticipated changes in agriculture.ding the mix of policies which will best support the nation’s forests in the future.

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