The Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a system of European Union agricultural subsidies and programs. It represented 47% of the EU's budget, €50 billion in 2006. The CAP combines a direct subsidy payment for crops and land which may be cultivated with price support mechanisms, including guaranteed minimum prices, import tariffs and quotas on certain goods from outside the EU. Reforms are currently underway reducing import controls and transferring subsidy to land stewardship rather than specific crop production (phased from 2004 to 2012). Detailed implementation of the scheme varies in different EU member countries. 
The CAP system originated in the 1950's as a way to increase the productivity of European towns who had been devastated by war. Legislators hoped to create a stable agricultural sector to supply affordable food to the recovering nations. The government provided financial assistance in the form of farm investment subsidies that helped to restructure the growth and technological management of the industry. These changes showed marked results moving the EU towards self sufficiency from the 1980's onward.
With these new changes and advancements the EU was forced to contend with an almost constant excess of agricultural commodities that began to flood the market. These economic distortions had a high monetary cost and were not always beneficial to the farmers they were meant to protect and they quickly fell out of favor with taxpayers and consumers.
The CAP Today
The main difference between the original CAP and the current system enforced today are the ways in which the agricultural system is not only fostered but also regulate. Production limits were set to minimize market impact of overproduction and a stronger emphasis was put on environmentally sound production. These fundamental changes helped to make the EU to compete with the world market and it also encouraged other rural initiatives that continued to restructure farms. These programs promoted crop diversification and productivity as well as budget constraints which assured that the cost of this new legislation would not grow out of control.
France is the largest recipient of CAP funds coming in around 20% of the total in 2006. Following France are the countries of Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK all of whom also receive significant amounts. Greece and Ireland receive the largest per capita payments despite receiving smaller amounts. Payments will decrease by 2013 to these countries, when countries such as Poland with large farming sectors become major beneficiaries. 
The Common Agricultural Policy Explained: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CEIQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fec.europa.eu%2Fagriculture%2Fpubli%2Fcapexplained%2Fcap_en.pdf&ei=3XqdT-3hJKW_0QGY0pGeDw&usg=AFQjCNHTyy_g_FILWFEcqLT15U3UTAIiAQ
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Agricultural_Policy
- ↑ http://www.ecpa.eu/information-page/agriculture-today/common-agricultural-policy-cap
(edit) It's kind of tough to talk about global agriculture in any form or fashion with making reference or mention of Monsanto the world's largest agricultural business. Specialized in sustainable agricultural practice this company has built a tremendous monopolization of the agricultural market and regulates the land for which farmers harvest from the Western Coast of California to the Eastern shoes of Asia. Monsanto is a controversial company who has been criticized for its inhumane regulation practices. This company is dismissed as a company only concerned with supreme profitability instead of the sustainability of not only the crops in which they oversee but also the family's of the farmer in which they rule over with the strictest of cords.
References: "Commitments." Monsanto ~ Sustainable Agriculture. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.monsanto.com/ourcommitments/pages/sustainable-agriculture.aspx>. "Monsanto." Genetically Modified Foods, The Silent Killer. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://todayyesterdayandtomorrow.wordpress.com/genetically-modified-food/heres-names/monsanto/>. "THE DARK SIDE OF MONSANTO." Think Aboutit. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.think-aboutit.com/News/THEDARKSIDEOFMONSANTO.htm>.