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Family farming represents the most widespread model of farming both in Italy and in Europe. This family management of Italian farms is clearly highlighted by the figures released by the 6th General Agricultural Census 2010, according to which these types of farms represent 98.9% of total farms, thus cultivating 89.4% of the total utilized agricultural area (UAA).  These farms play an important role in the rural economy: they contribute to food safety, they provide many high-quality products, they improve the dynamism of the rural economy, and their interest in the care of the environment fosters the production of local goods. In terms of structure, these farms are small on average (the average farm covers 7.2 hectares, compared to 79.2 hectares of non-family-run farms), and what prevails is direct involvement by the farmer (96.4% of the total labour on the family-run farms).


More than 50% of farms own less than 2 hectares and cultivate only 6% of the total agricultural land used, whereas family-run farms with more than 30 hectares, represent just 5%, but they cover almost the half of the UAA (49%). Conversely, among the non-family-run farms, 25% cover more than 50 hectares, covering 89% of their UAA, and only 10% own less than 2 hectares. The fragmentation of farms is particularly clear in the South, where the average size decreases to 4.7 hectares. Furthermore, the South has the greatest concentration of family-run farms, 43% compared to 24% of non-family-run farms.



On family farms, 80% of the manpower is provided for by the owner and his family. Members of the family and their relatives work an average of 125 days per year, with some differences at the regional level, ranging between 71 days in Sicily and 296 days in Trentino Alto-Adige. In general in the northern regions, where there is the greatest presence of livestock farms whose breeding activity requires a great use of manpower, shows an above average incidence of worked days per family. Nonetheless, it should be noted that 47% of farms do not reach 50 working days, and 64% do not reach 100 days.

The main focus is the owner of the farm, who carries out most of the working days (65%), followed by other relatives (19%) and by the spouse (16%). The participation of the owner has increased during the last twenty years: in 1990 the owner provided 57% of working days, and 62% in 2000. The overall number of family members involved in the farm amounts to three thousand people, with an average of 68.5 working days per person; specifically 82 by owners, 46 by spouses and 59 by other relatives.





Family farming lex

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