Д-р инж. Божена Карват-Вожняк
Институт по икономика на селското стопанство и хранителната промишленост - Национален изследователски институт - Варшава, Полша
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Institute of Agriculture and Food Economics - National Research Institute - Warsaw, Poland
A family farm plays a prominent role in economic activity of members of the farming family when it provides a level of income ensuring acceptable living conditions and farm development. Satisfying this assumption under growing competition in the agricultural market involves continuing changes in the size and structure of the production potential of holdings, even those producing on a sufficiently large scale, namely highly commercial units.
The paper was aimed to analyse the effects of integration of Poland’s economy and agriculture into the European Union structures on economic and production characteristics of highly commercial farms.
A highly commercial family farm was defined as a unit where the scale of agricultural commercial production ensured income from work on the family farm at least at the level of average earnings from non-agricultural activities.
Empirically, the study was mainly based on the results of field surveys conducted periodically by the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics - National Research Institute, mostly on the findings from the 2000 and 2005 surveys. The surveys covered a fixed and representative sample of approx. 4,000 farms of more than 1.00 ha of agricultural land and owned by individuals.
The analysis demonstrated that maintaining the competitive position in the agricultural market and earning fair income from farming activities required significant changes in the production potential and in the functioning of highly commercial units. Such changes, in turn, usually involved relatively high investment activity. Furthermore, Poland’s accession to the European Union stimulated adjustment processes. Changes in the group of highly commercial units were best reflected in the area of agricultural land. Between 2000 and 2005, the average farm size in the group of highly commercial holdings increased by 27%, compared to a 12% rise in 1996-2000. The concentration of agricultural land entailed the intensification of production, particularly animal production, the increase in and modernisation of fixed assets as well as the simplification of production profiles. In their efforts to adapt agricultural holdings, farmers from highly commercial units were primarily oriented towards improving farming efficiency, which mostly resulted in increased labour productivity.
Key words: high profitable farms, characteristics, integration, Poland
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