Family Farming in Europe: Challenges and Prospects

15-04-2014

This note discusses the definitions, challenges and future prospects of family farming in the EU. Some challenges, such as market volatility and climate change, are general for all EU farm structures, but some are specific to family farmers: their smallness, lack of power within the food chain, and intergenerational farm succession. However, family farming – often by pluriactive and/or diversified households – is likely to continue to dominate EU farm structure in the foreseeable future, despite trends towards larger family and non-family farms. Action at both EU and national policy levels could help towards a more sustainable and resilient family farm sector.

This note discusses the definitions, challenges and future prospects of family farming in the EU. Some challenges, such as market volatility and climate change, are general for all EU farm structures, but some are specific to family farmers: their smallness, lack of power within the food chain, and intergenerational farm succession. However, family farming – often by pluriactive and/or diversified households – is likely to continue to dominate EU farm structure in the foreseeable future, despite trends towards larger family and non-family farms. Action at both EU and national policy levels could help towards a more sustainable and resilient family farm sector.