Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
First, the economic size of the farm measured in European Size Units (ESUs) was
used to distinguish small scale, medium scale and large scale farms. It is thought
that economic size reflects both economic and social aspects of farming: small and
large farms might differ in their response to policy and market changes and in their
contribution to the viability of rural areas. Second, farming intensity expressed in
terms of agricultural output in euro per hectare was used to classify farms into low
intensity, medium intensity and high intensity farms. Farming intensity is presented
as a measure for both economic and environmental performance: low intensity
farms with a low output per hectare are likely to have a lower pressure on the
environment than high intensity farms. Third, specialization in agricultural activities
was applied to classify farms in the farm types used in the EU farm typology.
However, in the SEAMLESS farm typology only ten farm types are distinguished
against 26 in the EU farm typology. Specialization is believed to provide information
on the economic performance of the farm and on likely future choices on farm
management. Fourth, land use types were defined dependent on thresholds for the
use of specific land, like grassland, horticultural crops etc. This resulted in nine
land use types. Land use is related to the environmental impact of farming. Usually,
land use on livestock farms reflects feeding strategies varying from extensive
grassland to highly intensive arable crops, whereas land use on crop farms may
vary from rotation and mixed cropping strategies to monocultures and highly
specialized intensive cropping.
Three size types, three intensity types, ten specialization types and nine land
use types combined results in potentially 810 types. In order to reduce the
number of types, the specialization and land use dimension were combined in the
SEAMLESS farm typology. By doing so, the number of types have been reduced
to 189. According to the SEAMLESS farm typology, 12% of the EU15 farms are
classified as low intensity farms, over 50% as medium intensity farms and 35% as
high intensity farms in 2003 (Andersen et al. 2006) . Low intensity farms cultivate
24% of the utilized agricultural area in the EU15, medium intensity farms 62% and
high intensity farms 15%. Low intensity farms produced only 3% of the agricultural
output in the EU against a share of 60% on high intensity farms.
In the SEAMLESS farm typology, the regional context of the farm is not
taken into account. This implies that the impact of socio-economic and physical
characteristics of the territorial context on the economic and environmental
performance of farms is disregarded. It could be wondered whether such regional
characteristics could be included in the SEAMLESS farm typology. If we would do
so, the number of types in the SEAMLESS farm typology will rise. This would
create a rather untransparent typology. Therefore, in this chapter we use regional
typologies instead of extended farm typologies for exploring whether the economic
and environmental performance of farms is affected by regional characteristics.
In particular, we focus on three regional typologies based on rurality, the stage of
economic development and the presence of Less Favoured Areas (LFA). In order to
avoid too many farm types, we base our analysis on the average regional farm.
The economic and environmental performance of this average regional farm
is - like in the SEAMLESS farm typology - approached by agricultural output in
Search WWH ::

Custom Search