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Research into part-time farming to the protection of the environment and the diversification of the rural economy - RE0109(1)

This study will aim to analyse how part-time farming has evolved in different parts of the country over the last 10 years, by examining the evidence for the changing role of agriculture in different types of local economy and the on-farm processes involved in the development of part-time farming. The study will be composed of 6 specific objectives outlined as follows, together with ways in which they might be achieved: 1. Presentation of a clear analysis of how farming has structurally changed over the last 10 years (1985-95) in relation to numbers of full and part-time farmers in different locations within England and Wales. Relevant reports, books and journal articles will be critically reviewed and datasets from studies on farm diversification, pluriactivity and farm characteristics will be studied; 2. Examination of the social, economic and environmental context in which farming locations have occurred within different locations, and identification of the contribution of part-time farming to creating and sustaining employment. Relevant data from the European Community Farm Structure Survey will be analysed at the level of Local Authority district to examine the changing structure of farming in different locations; 3. Identification of the reasons why people choose part-time farming and potential obstacles to others either becoming part-time farmers or increasing their activity in another source of employment. District level data will be linked to agricultural data as well as information from a range of other sources to examine the spatial distribution of off-farm work within different types of farming area and local economy; 4. Determination of whether there are particular problems or benefits in part-time farming for Less Favoured Areas (LFAs). Farmer decision-making data from the Farm Business Survey (FBS) will be used to examine trends and explore how location within a LFA affects decisions on engaging in on-farm or off-farm activities; 5. Identification of potential impacts of part-time farming on the environment. The existing land use allocation model, which allows some linking of farm business information to environmental characteristics, will be used to examine environmental information on farms where the farmer allocates a certain proportion of time to working off the farm or in some non-agricultural on-farm activity; and 6. Exploration of the range of options for assisting part-time farmers to contribute effectively to the rural economy, including those appropriate for action by Government. Policy options will be reviewed in the light of results from the empirical study and the literature review. This will include a review of the options currently available for farmers to become part-time. Updated information on the nature of support provided to farmers for farm diversification by MAFF and the Rural Development Commission will be obtained and reviewed. Evidence on the nature of the relationship between agriculture and rural development gained from the study will be used to provide guidance on the most appropriate forms of rural policy.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2000

Cost: £98,961
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment Research Council, University - Cambridge
Fields of Study
Rural Affairs