Économie et Statistique n° 390 - 2006 Intergenerational transfers by elderly migrants - Agri-food trade between 1992 and 2002 - The concentration of agricultural production and the growth of agricultural holdings
The concentration of agricultural production and the growth of agricultural holdings
Between the 1998 and 2000 agricultural censuses, the number of agricultural holdings fell from one million to 664 000. This fall resulted in a slight increase in the relative concentration of agricultural production, with the smallest holdings decreasing in size and the the largest holdings becoming larger. There are two explanatory variables which today have a greater influence on holding size than in the past: the age of the manager of the agricultural holding, with younger managers coming to increasingly larger holdings, and the legal form. One holding in three closed between 1988 and 1997, and these were usually the smallest holdings. These holdings can be divided into two distinct categories: those where the decrease in size signalled their future closure and, conversely, those where the growth coincided with the arrival of a new manager or a period of recovery. For agricultural holdings with young managers, recovery was more frequent than closure, particularly for medium-sized holdings. The starting size has little incidence on the growth of holdings: the concentration of production occurs more due to a rise in economic size thresholds than the cornering of the market by the largest holdings. The slight movement towards concentration observed over the last 15 years is essentially linked to the development of corporate farming, which is better suited to larger holdings than the individual farmer. A projection using the Markov process predicts 473,000 agricultural holdings in 2012. This decrease, much slower than between 1988 and 2000, will be accompanied by a slight increase in the absolute concentration of holdings.