Платформа знаний о семейных фермерских хозяйствах


Sweden does not have any exact definition of family farming. In general, farms are categorized as small scale enterprises. However, the majority of farmers would probably define their businesses as family companies. In 2014, the total agricultural area in Sweden was 3 032 000 hectares and the total area of arable land was 2 594 000 hectares. The number of employees in agriculture, forestry and fishery was 95 000. It is 2 per cent of the workforce. The agricultural sector’s contribution to GDP was less than 0,4 percent. The most important production sector is milk production, followed by forage production and cereals. Table 1 informs about the size of the Swedish farms and Table 2 about size of holdings of dairy cows.


Table 1 informs about the size of the Swedish farms and Table 2 about size of holdings of dairy cows.

Table 1: Holdings by size classes of holding 2013


-4,9 ha

5,0-19,9 ha

20-49,9 ha

50-99,9 ha


Number of holdings

8 190

30 000

15 170

9 070

7 930


Table 2 Number of holdings with dairy cows by size of herd 2013

Size of herd






Number of holdings







For a viable agriculture it is of utmost importance to attract labor and capital. To be able to attract these production factors the standard of living in the agricultural has to be at the same level as in the society at large.  If the standard of living does not increase, it is our experience that the farms will close down. Therefore, the best option to achieve a viable agriculture is through good competitiveness.

We think that the Swedish agricultural sector will develop by:

•    raising its incomes in the same pace as other sectors
•    expanding and being able to hire more work force
•    getting farmers cooperating
•    being able to managing mergers, acquisitions and generation shifts
•    attracting capital
•    improving the skills in business management
•    raising competence concerning markets
•    improving skills for improved productivity
•    increasing adaptability to new market trends
•    increasing adaptability to new climate conditions

Measures to promote the positive development of family farming
The experience tells us that market distorting measures are not effective in promoting a viable agriculture. Public interventions should instead be as neutral as possible. There are, however, examples of public intervention which could contribute to promote the development of the agricultural sector.

Research, skills development and innovation
Increased demand for agricultural commodities, global competition and climate change means that the agricultural sector must continually evolve. Research and development of skill are therefore the most prioritized area for public action. In a sector with many small companies it is challenging to find financial solutions for all measures needed. Research, field trials, innovation and extension services are all essential components in raising productivity.

Facilitating business transfers at generational changes
Larger farms lead to new challenges when it comes to generational changes. Large well-functioning farms need to be transferred to new dedicated owners. We do not think it is a good idea to restrict transfers to the family. New owners or co-owners may contribute with well needed capital or skills. New forms of companies should be facilitated.

Developing entrepreneurship
The ability to expand is decisive for the farms and the requirements for expertise increases. The viability is determined by the farms’ ability to raise their skills in areas such as production, entrepreneurship and marketing. They also have to adapt to new conditions like a changing climate, new market trends and efficiency requirements.

Market access
Producer organizations and cooperatives may be important to strengthen the bargaining power of producers. However, we believe that the membership in these kinds of collaborations should be voluntary. Shorter food chains and local markets open new opportunities for farmers. Better skills in marketing and processing might contribute to the diversification of the market opportunities for the agricultural companies and generate incomes to family farmers as an alternative or a complement to rationalization. The EU quality policy, i.e. geographical indications, may be used as a measure to promote local production.

Payments for public goods
The farms contribute to collective goods such as attractive and open landscapes and biodiversity. Especially in forest districts and in less favored areas, agricultural activities are decisive for biodiversity and the attractiveness of the landscapes. In these districts, small farms with animal production are of big importance for the management of semi-natural pastures. Compensation for these kinds of collective goods are favorable both for cultural values in the landscapes and the competitiveness of farms which receive payments for environmental services.



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