Fewer farms in EU but size increasing
The trend for a decline in the number of farms, but an increase in average farm size, continues across the EU. The most recent European Commission statistics, which are for 2010, show that there were 12 million farms in the 27 EU member states, accounting for 172 million ha of land. Between 2005 and 2010, the average annual rate of decline in farm numbers was 3.7%. The highest rate of decline (4.7%/year) was in the 12 countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. For the EU as a whole, the average farm size increased by 3.8%/year. The 12 newest member states have smaller farms, 7.1ha/holding, than the 15 older states (23.6 ha), but the average size is increasing at a faster rate of 5.5%/year (2%). While only 2.7% of EU farms have more than 100 ha, they account for 50% of the utilised agricultural area.