Survey and Analysis of Labour on Organic Farms in the UK and Republic of Ireland

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A survey of 1144 organic farms in the UK and Republic of Ireland (IE) was used to assess whether organic agriculture provides more labour than conventional (non-organic) farming. The sampled farms comprised 23% of all organic farms. The jobs per farm and per area varied greatly with enterprise type and farm size, and between regions. Comparison of the survey with national statistics showed that organic farms employ 135% more FTE (full time equivalent jobs) per farm than conventional farms. The mean jobs per area was markedly lower for organic farms (1.35 compared to 2.43 FTE per 100 ha), because they are larger (216 ha compared to 51 ha). Even when corrected for the different size distribution, organic farms had more jobs per farm than the national averages (2.52 and 1.49 FTE for the UK and IE, compared to 1.28 and 1.16 FTE). The farm size weighted FTE per area for organic farms in the UK (4.33 FTE per 100 ha) was almost twice that for conventional farms. We predict there would be 19% and 6% more farming jobs in the UK and IE if 20% of the farms of both countries were to become organic (compared to the present 1–2%).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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