Support payments to Finnish agriculture and horticulture are founded on the support schemes of the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP). The most significant payment schemes are those funded in full by the EU (so-called direct payments, e.g. the single payment scheme SPS) and natural handicap payments (LFA) and agri-environmental support part-funded by the EU. These are supplemented by national aids, such as the national aid for southern Finland and northern aid (Articles 141 and 142 of the Accession Treaty).
Support is paid to farmers according to the arable area, number of animals/livestock units (LU) or quantities produced, with the aim of ensuring the profitability and continuity of the production. The purpose of the natural handicap payments is to compensate for the handicap due to less favoured natural conditions, while environmental support is paid to promote the biological diversity and management of agricultural landscapes.
Support payments to farmers are managed by the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs, together with the municipalities and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.