EU farm incomes increase in a decade
Average farm incomes in the European Union (EU) increased between 2007 and 2018, reaching € 35,300 by farm and € 22,500 per annual work unit (AWU)* in 2018.
However, significant differences can be observed across the EU and according to farm types, sex, age and level of training of operators and managers.
These are the main conclusions of the Overview of the EU agricultural economy recently published report by the European Commission.
The report provides an overview of the main economic developments of European farms up to 2018, based on data collected for the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN).
An increase in the value of agricultural production, both for crops and for animal production – by 34% and 36%, respectively – resulted in an increase in farm incomes during the period analyzed.
In terms of income per AWU, the highest average income was recorded in 2018 at € 22,500, a slight increase of 0.3% compared to 2017 and 41% higher than that of 2007.
Regarding income differences across the EU, the highest income per UTA was in the northwest of the EU, while the lowest was in the Eastern part.
The report found that farms managed by managers with basic or full agricultural training had higher income per AWU (+ 59%) than those whose managers had only practical experience. This applied to almost all EU countries, types of agriculture and size of farms at EU level.
Farms specializing in grain-eaters, wine, horticulture and dairy products had an income per AWU above the EU average in 2018.
On the other hand, it remained lower than the average for farms with permanent crops (excluding wine growers), farms specializing in pasture breeding (excluding dairy) and mixed farms.
Lower farm incomes for women
The analysis also found that, on average, farms headed by women had lower income per AWU – 38% less than those led by men.
But it also depended on the type of farm and the size of the farm. For example, women run, on average, smaller farms, both in terms of size and production.
The income gap by gender concerns all types of agriculture, with the largest gap observed in dairy products and field crops.
In terms of age at EU level, holdings managed by managers aged 40 or under have the lowest incomes on average, followed by managers over 60.
However, for a large majority of EU countries, farms run by managers over 60 years of age have the lowest incomes.
This difference, at national level, is mainly due to the fact that the majority of young farmers in the EU are in countries with lower than average income levels.
For example, 47% of the young farmers represented in the FADN are located in Poland and Romania.
* Refers to full-time equivalent employment – the total number of hours worked divided by the average annual number of hours worked in full-time jobs in the country.