The French Ministry of Agriculture issued a new analysis this past month about the scale of French farm and ranch operations in 2013, in comparison with 2010.
From 2010 to 2013, the number of farm and ranching operations decreased by 8% from 490,000 to 450,000, which corresponds to the average pace of decline over the last decade (about 3% per year). The good news is that overall utilized agricultural land has been diminishing at a slowing rate (0.3% over the past three years). As a result, the agricultural area per farm has increased by 8%, which leads to an average of about 150 acres per operation in 2013, compared to 138 acres in 2010. One quarter of French operations cover fewer than 15 acres and another quarter of the farming population work with more than 220 acres. 10% have more than 380 acres on their farm.
Thanks to a general rise in prices, the operations’ gross product (GP) has also increased between 2010 and 2013, and the number of economically large operations (defined as having a GP larger than 100,000 euros) has increased by 9%.
The number of operations specialized in field crops has considerably risen (by 11%), mainly due to high prices of grain during these years. The amount of dairy operations has dipped but has nevertheless maintained its dominance in the bovine sector. The number of dairy cows per operation has expanded from 50 to 54 cows whereas that of beef cows remains stable with around 45.
To access more information about agricultural statistics in France, please visit Agreste, the department of statistics within the French Ministry of Agriculture.