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Finland pays billionaire 400,000 euros in agricultural subsidies

Finland paid out 2 billion euros in agricultural subsidies last year, with Kone heir Antti Herlin receiving close to half a million euros to support his farm.

Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Antti Herlin, one of Finland’s few billionaires, received 400,000 euros from the public purse last year to support his farm.

Banking mogul Björn Wahlroos, meanwhile, did not claim any subsidies as he has transferred the ownership of his farmland to his heirs.

Figures released by the Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) on Wednesday show that all in all 1.99 billion euros were paid in agricultural and rural development subsidies to 60,000 entities in Finland last year. The European Union paid 863 million euros of the total subsidies while Finnish taxpayers shelled out the remaining 1.126 billion euros.

A lion's share of the subsidies, 1.76 billion euros, went to farms, while the rest was spent on rural development projects, education and market support.

Meat producers featured prominently among the top recipients of subsidies, but the single largest amount, slightly more than 1 million euros, was granted to Vihti-based grain farmer Niko Olavi Ahlqvist. Dairy farmer Jari Leppä, who currently serves as Finland’s minister of agriculture and forestry, received 116,000 euros.

State agencies the Natural Resources Institute and the Forest Centre were each given about 2 million euros, making them the two largest recipients among organisations.

According to Mavi, about a third of a Finnish farm’s profit is made up by subsidies.