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Farm Numbers

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd May 2006.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farm holdings there were in the UK in each of the last 20 years.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity)

The number of agricultural and horticultural holdings in England recorded for the years 1986 to 2005 are shown below. Figures for the other UK countries fall under the jurisdiction of the devolved authorities.

Number of agricultural and horticultural holdings
1986 154,735
1987 155,785
1988 156,647
1989 157,393
1990 150,652
1991 150,966
1992 151,718
1993 153,422
1994 153,426
1995 146,112
1996 145,637
1997 144,777
1998 145,093
1999 147,220
2000 167,855
2001 177,934
2002 187,871
2003 190,687
2004 192,824
2005 195,908


(a) Figures prior to 2000 are for main holdings only, from 2000 onwards main and minor holdings are included. A holding is defined as minor if it meets all of the following conditions:

1. the total area is less than 6 hectares

2. the labour requirement is estimated to be less than 100 standard person-days

3. there is no regular full-time farmer or worker

4. the glasshouse area is less than 100 square metres

5. the occupier does not farm another holding

(b) There has been an increase in the number of holdings in later years. This reflects changes in registration requirements with many smaller holdings now appearing on the system.


June Agricultural Census and June Agricultural Survey.

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