Structural change in agriculture due to demographic processes

Date of publication: June 15, 1994

Abstract:

Whether one fears future farm closings due to a lack of successors or expressly advocates agricultural structural changes, the manner in which these changes can be expected to take place is of interest to agricultural policy. For this reason, a method was used here to study structural changes which, based on agricultural surveys, allows conclusions to be drawn about the frequencies of staying in an employment status, exits from farm-employment and occupational mobility of people involved in farm occupations. These frequency tables are used to make projections about the number of farms in the area of the former Federal Republic of Germany. On the basis of these projections, an increasing decline of the number of farms, exceeding the expectations of only a few years ago, is indicated. In addition, the significance of multi-job-holding will presumably increase as a consequence of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Union. The concern that a lack of successors could threaten agricultural land use seems however unfounded, because it seems admissible to assume that people who are not currently among the potential farm successors would take over existing farms or start new farms if accelerated structural change would cause agriculture to become more competitive in the future.

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