The reference document for the agriculture sector

Agriculture - Crop and Animal Production

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has been developing a sectoral reference document on best environmental management practice in the agriculture sector. The document describes best environmental management practices that farmers can implement to minimise the environmental impact of agriculture, for both crop and animal production.

Best environmental management practices identified cover ten key areas of the agriculture sector:

  • Sustainable farm and land management
  • Soil quality management
  • Nutrient management
  • Soil preparation and crop planning
  • Grass and grazing management
  • Animal husbandry
  • Manure management
  • Irrigation
  • Crop protection products
  • Protected horticulture

BEMPs include pertinent measures and control points to drive maximum environmental improvement at the European level, considering geographic and product related hotspots across key environmental pressures including: greenhouse gas emissions, acidification, eutrophication, resource depletion, soil degradation, water stress, biodiversity loss and eco-toxicity.

Information was synthesised from existing best practice documentation, online agricultural calculation tools, inputs from a Technical Working Group, expert consultation, farm visits, and life cycle assessment modelling.


'Go Green with Best Environmental Management Practices!' - an example from the agricultural sector
Download the poster/infographics file [2 MB] produced on this work.





Work plan

  • Development of Background Document: December 2012 – April 2014
  • Contact with stakeholders and setting up the Technical Working Group (TWG): July-September 2013
  • Kick-off meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG): Brussels, 14-15 October 2013
  • Development of the first draft of the best practice report, October 2013 – June 2014
  • Final Meeting of the TWG: Brussels, 23-24 June 2014
  • Final draft of the best practice report: June 2015.
  • Adoption and official publication of the EMAS sectoral reference document: June 2018.

Current status

Based on a study carried out by Bangor University (UK) and the inputs, feedback and validation received from a Technical Working Group comprising experts from the sector, the JRC produced the best practice report for the agriculture sector - crop and animal production.

On its basis, the related EMAS sectoral reference document on best environmental management practice for the agriculture sector was developed and officially adopted by the European Commission.

Project Team and Contacts

The following people are part of the JRC EMAS SRDteam:

  • Paolo Canfora
  • Marco Dri
  • Ioannis Antonopoulos
  • Pierre Gaudillat

If you have any question on the work carried out in this area or if you would like to contribute to the identification of best environmental management practices, please feel free to contact us. The best way to do so is sending an e-mail to JRC-EMAS-SRD@ec.europa.eu.