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A study on the adaptation of French small agricultural structures to the Common Agricultural Policy

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Montpellier - MONTPELLIER - 2015

In Europe, and even more so in France, there is a consolidation trend, and so a drop in the headcount of agricultural companies. Small businesses are the most impacted, perhaps because of demographics, or because of commercial, technological and policy induced pressures. Common Agriculutural Policy subsidies are today suspected to primarily flow to large and intensive production units, increasing inequalities at the expense of “small farms”, yet quite a few of these small farms still exist.
This study will focus on small farms, and we will use individual data from the 2010 Agricultural Census to characterize the small farm group. The census takes all farms into account, regardless of their size, not only the large and medium sized ones.
We have used the Standard Gross Production notion (“PBS” in French, that came up with the 2010 Agricultural Census) and a threshold of 25 000 euros to isolate the group of small farms and we will try out other possible PBS thresholds to see if they can give a more precise isolation of the group.
From thereon we will attempt to build a typology for small farms in France, based on the following criteria: the farm owner’s age and level of qualification, the farming system (using the OTEX classification) and the farm’s geographical location (mountainous area, suburban), hence the need to access individual data.