An investigation of the level of structural change in the agrifood sector of Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands
This paper conducts a detailed, micro-focused investigation of the implications of issues such as recent agricultural policy changes and growth in the wider economy on the structure of production systems in Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands in terms of farm numbers, system switching, specialisation, the role of economies of scale and on-farm investment. The ability of each member state to choose the degree to which agricultural payments can be decoupled from production allows for comparisons of agricultural structural change under alternative decoupling strategies. The Netherlands and Denmark are ideal case studies for this purpose given their similarities to Ireland in terms of their size, climate, recent economic performance, the relative importance of agriculture to their overall economy and their participation in the Farm Accountancy Data Network. The results indicate that a ‘safety first’ approach is being taken by farmers, with structural change continuing along historical levels.
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