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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 7:36 AM

Large Farms in EU: Less than 1 % of European farms occupy 20 % of usable land
By Finfacts Team
Apr 20, 2011 - 6:04 AM

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Large farms in Europe: Less than 1 % of European farms occupy 20 % of usable land according to Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

Eurostat says the ongoing revision of the Common Agricultural Policy brings into focus the size of farms in the European Union. To measure the size of farms, different variables can be taken into account such as the economic performance, the labour force working on the farm, the production or the area.

Finfacts reported last week that in March, agriculture ministers refused to cap payments to big farmers and companies, which take the lion's share of the welfare budget.

In the Eurostat publication, (pdf) the Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) is chosen for classifying farms by size in each country. This classification provides the basis for a comparative study on the significance of the larger farms in the EU 27, Norway and Switzerland,
using the 2007 data from the Farm Structure Survey (FSS).

In Switzerland ( outside the EU) the average size of the larger farms (54 ha - hectare) is three times the average size of all farms (17 ha), while in countries such as Bulgaria (3,128 ha vs 6 ha), Romania (1,802 ha vs 3 ha) and Hungary (3,164 ha vs 7 ha), the average area of the larger farms is close to 500 times the average size of all farms.

In Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria the group of larger farms covering 20 % of the total UAA have an average area of over 3, 000 ha. Within the old Member States (EU 15), Greece, with an average area of 64 ha for the larger farms, has the lowest average area while the United Kingdom is the only country showing an average area over 2 000 ha for the group of larger farms. Eurostat says this can be explained for the United Kingdom by the fact that larger farms specialise in grazing livestock extensively.

Finfacts article: US farm subsidies face cuts; Europe's sacred cows safe despite rising food prices

The Eurozone (EA17) includes Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

The EU27 includes Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), France (FR), Italy (IT), Cyprus (CY), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), Malta (MT), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK), Finland (FI), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

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