In the last 12 months, the cost of running Jean-Marie Dirat's lamb farm in southwest France has jumped by €35,000 ($38,000), driven up by increasingly expensive fertilizers, fuel, electricity and pesticides.

Money is so tight that this year he won't pay himself. To his surprise, he even calculated that he would be eligible for the minimum welfare benefit, given to society's poorest.

"My grandfather had 15 cows and 15 hectares. He raised his kids, his family, without any problem. Today, me and my wife, we have 70 hectares, 200 sheep, and we can't even pay ourselves a salary," Dirat said at a roadblock made of hay bales that barred access to a nuclear plant.