Agricultural Land

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew George Andrew George Liberal Democrat, St Ives

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects of changes in the price of agricultural land on the (a) profitability and (b) productivity of English agriculture.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA have not made a specific assessment on the effects of changes in the price of agricultural land on the profitability and productivity of English agriculture.

DEFRA publish aggregate balance sheets for agriculture in "Agriculture in the United Kingdom". The balance sheet shows the value of fixed assets at a point in time (December each year) and the value of liabilities at a point in time. Fixed assets are dominated by land. As the volume of land is unchanging, the trend in the value of land and buildings is dominated by the effect of land prices. The latest balance sheet shows the value of UK agricultural land and buildings increasing by 40 per cent. at current prices, between 2003 and 2006.

Changes in profitability of farming are measured by changes to Farm Business Income. Data on Farm Business Incomes are provided by the annual Farm Business Survey conducted in England. These figures are for March/February years. The most recent published figures show Farm Business Income in England at the all types level falling by 2.5 per cent. at current prices, between the years 2003-04 and 2006-07 (to then increase sharply in 2007-08).

Productivity for UK agriculture, measured by Total Factor Productivity, is published in "Agriculture in the United Kingdom". The latest publication shows UK agricultural productivity increasing by 5 per cent. between the years 2003 and 2006.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No1 person thinks not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.

Annotations

peter mates
Posted on 18 Jul 2008 9:08 am (Report this annotation)

The Minister say that " ..the volume of land is unchanging" (I would prefer the word 'area')but what IS changing, drastically, is the area of land available for agriculture. Here in Cornwall farms are being broken up at an alarming rate. The farmhouse and barns are usually retained, the latter for conversion to holiday/residential use, and the land disposed of. When sufficient land has been accumulated, the new owner applies for, and gets, planning permission for a new farmhouse, barns, access roads, etc., etc. Thus this strategically important resource (farmland) is slowly whittled away so that someone can make a profit. The 'national interest' is ignored and the ability to feed ourselves further reduced. DEFRA needs to urgently investigate the break up of farms and the subsequent loss of agricultural land over the last decade. This, of course, is in addition to farmland lost to housing and other development. To ignore this problem is simply madness.

Cllr. Peter Mates CC