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Biggest Recipients of Agricultural Subsidies Revealed

On Monday YLE will publish a list of the country's biggest recipients of agricultural subsidies. Although Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court has ordered that information on subsidies be made public, the Ministry of Agriculture has sought to keep it a secret.

The Ministry has since ordered that municipalities release the information to YLE. However many municipalities in southern Ostrobothnia have refused to release names. Several municipalities are demanding to be compensated for the information.

The peat production company Suo Oy, a subsidiary of the state-owned company Vapo, was Finland’s largest recipient of agricultural subsidies in 2004.

In 2004 Suo received over 1.2 million euros, mainly for its fields in North Karelia. Other big recipients that year included livestock raisers in Kalajoki, Sotkamo and Kiuruvesi, and a grain producer in Jokioinen.

Also among the biggest recipients were several millionaire businessmen who practice farming on the side. These include car dealer Yrjö Laakkonen, who received 301,155 euros in subsidies for a pig farm, as well as finance firm Sampo's CEO Björn Wahlroos (156,540 euros for sugar beets and other crops) and lift manufacturer Kone's chief owner, Antti Herlin (167,050 euros for a cattle farm).


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