It is difficult to find web sites for individual farms, or to
discover the views or opinions of farmers themselves.
is a useful link site for most agricultural topics, but there
are only 20 individual farms listed, most of which are marketing
their prize-winning pedigree animals.
The Government Farm Business Survey for 2000 gives figures on
the economic health of farming in Table 8.2, p82 of ref.
4, which gives the net annual income from small, medium and
large farms in the main product areas, and in Table 8.3, p83 of
ref.4 there are similar statistics for
Owner Occupied, Tenanted and Mixed Tenure Farms. The statistics
are very detailed, but the following points can be made from them:-
1. Farm incomes and profitability have fallen dramatically in
the last decade for all farmers
2. This is especially true of cattle and sheep farms both in 'less
favoured areas' and lowland areas
3. The fall in incomes is especially severe for small and medium
farms - many appear to have made a loss in 1999/2000, especially
in catlle and sheep.
4. Larger farms in each category are generally more successful
than medium or small farms
5. Type of ownership seems less relevant to profitability than
size of farm
There is clearly a trend away from smaller and family farms towards
larger farms, but it is difficult to disentangle from the statistics
if these are company-owned farms or if they are owned by individuals,
and if they are run by managers or tenants.
The methods of doing business of doing business in farming are
· Some crops are apparently always pre-sold, e.g. peas
· Some products are sold to co-operatives, e.g. milk
· Animals are generally taken to market and auctioned
One hears of complaints from the farmers about domination of the
market by the main buyers, particularly by the supermarkets, who
force down the 'farm-gate' prices. I have not yet found any sources
of information on this