The aim of the farmers’ support is to safeguard the profitability and continuity of agricultural production. Support is paid on the basis according to the arable area, number of animals/livestock units (LU) or quantities produced. Farmers may also apply for support to start a farm and for investments.

Support is to be applied for from the municipality or ELY Centre

The Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs operates as the Finnish payment agency. The Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs has delegated the duties of the paying agency to municipalities and Economic Development, Transport and Environment Centres (ELY Centres), as well as the State Department of Åland, which it steers in issues related to application, payment and monitoring of support.

Farmers primarily apply for support from their municipality. In Finland, municipalities have been organised as rural administration units, the total number of which is 61.

Some support forms, such as special forms of environmental support and investment and
start-up support, are applied for from one of 15 local ELY Centres.

The Åland Islands is an autonomous region with slightly different support systems from those on mainland Finland. In the Åland Islands, support is administered by the State Department of Åland and the Åland Government.

The Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs is developing electronic services

In 2015, 86 per cent of Finnish farmers applied for support electronically. The farmers complete the majority of applications themselves – it is estimated that one third of electronic applications were filled by consultants. The Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs is continuing to develop electronic services with the aim of increasing the number of electronic support applications in the future.

It will also continue to develop administrative work and information systems. The aim is that the whole application and handling process will be electronic. Administration has an electronic archive at its disposal and decisions may be mailed directly from the electronic system to the farmer.