Agricultural change and restructuring: recent evidence from a survey of agricultural households in England
Lobley, M. | Potter, C.
Despite widespread speculation about the likely future extent of agricultural restructuring in the UK, researchers and policymakers are surprisingly ignorant of the nature and extent of farm household adjustment in the period since the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, claims that agriculture is in crisis and on the threshold of radical structural change continue to receive widespread media attention. Critics point out that because European policy debates are constructed in ways which emphasise the vulnerability of farmers and their businesses, there is a lack of attention to the true status and economic sustainability of agricultural households themselves. This paper reports results from a recent survey of agricultural business restructuring within six English study areas selected to span a range of agricultural settings and designed to identify the different trajectories of change to be found there. It concludes that while there is some evidence of disengagement from mainstream agriculture and an increasingly diverse set of relationships between the occupation and management of land, commitment to remaining in agriculture remains strong amongst farming families. A substantial proportion of agricultural and agri-environmental assets seem likely to remain in the same hands for the foreseeable future.Show more [+] Less [-]