Agriculture in the UK

Today, farming and agriculture is worth over £122 billion to the UK economy, employing over four million people. 

Agriculture Sector: Overview & News

Why We Should Back Farming And Agriculture In The UK

In reality the agricultural sector is an economical powerhouse, highly mechanised and partly responsible for the UK’s trade success in a competitive global market.

Fast facts: With 149,000 farm businesses spread across the nation, farming offers a greater contribution to the UK economy than the motor trade, education, finance and insurance.

Farming And Agriculture In The UK Today

• Arable farming – crops (wheat and barley)
• Livestock farming – raising animals (cows and sheep)
• Mixed farming is both arable and pastoral
Farms in the South and East of the UK tend to be more suitable for arable farming because of the flatter land, fertile soils and warmer, dryer climate. With steeper slopes, wetter weather and higher winds, highland areas in the North and the West of the UK are more suited to livestock farming.


Farms in the South and East of the UK tend to be more suitable for arable farming because of the flatter land, fertile soils and warmer, dryer climate. With steeper slopes, wetter weather and higher winds, highland areas in the North and the West of the UK are more suited to livestock farming.

The contribution of farming to the UK economy can be valued by looking at four areas:

• Farm performance: the volume of agricultural outputs (such as the amount of milk, beef and wheat produced) and the proportion of the food we eat that is produced in the UK.
• Economic performance: the contribution of farming as a generator of both economic output and employment. As well as the value generated directly by farming, economic performance is also measured by the role farming plays in supporting UK food manufacturing – largest manufacturing sub-sector in the UK economy.
• Environment: the role that farming plays in managing the countryside, through the provision and upkeep of habitats, and also the role that farmland increasingly plays in the production of renewable energy. This theme also covers the trends for emissions of greenhouse gases and the use of resources used to help grow our food.
• Social contribution: the role that our farmland plays in contributing to public goods, such as recreation and enjoyment of the countryside.


Agricultural Finance
For farmers in the UK, accessing and maintaining the right machinery and vehicles is overwhelmingly costly, eating into capital that may need to be spent on livestock, feed and other expenditure. The importance of agricultural finance is vital; giving farmers the funding necessary to purchase new inputs, cover land costs and market products. Agricultural finance also gives farmers ‘breathing room’ should a crisis occur.

In Summary

The introduction of the Environment Land Management Scheme (ELM) will also “deliver against the government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, while also contributing to a thriving rural economy and farming sector.” In all, the future for UK British agriculture seems bright, despite undergoing another period of transition and upheaval.

With a more self-reliant agricultural industry on the cards, and a commitment from the Government to increase competitiveness, a new agricultural landscape is on the horizon for the UK economy and the farmers who support it.

Read Sector 'Insight Research':
• Farming for Food - Food Sustainability

Agriculture and Horticulture Innovation

UK Food System in a Pandemic


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What’s Next For UK Farming?
Sector Challenges And Opportunities

Why We Should Back UK Farming & Agriculture

UK Farming Facts

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UK Agriculture News

Seasonal worker scheme 'could tackle food labour problem'


Livestock farmers told to capitalise on health market



Highly valued analysis & market intelligence
for your sector

Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the UK Food Service industry with insight from the UK Food Council. 

Find hidden opportunities in the most current research data available, understand competitive threats with our detailed market analysis and plan your corporate strategy with our expert qualitative analysis and growth projections. If you're in the Food Service industry, our research will save you time and money while empowering you to make informed, profitable decisions. 

In addition this report highlights: 

The  changes required throughout the different elements of the food system and beyond if food security is to be provided for a predicted nine billion people. Action has to occur on all of the following four fronts simultaneously:
● More food must be produced sustainably through the spread and implementation of existing knowledge, technology and best practice, and by investment in new science and innovation and the social infrastructure that enables food producers to benefit from all of these.
● Demand for the most resource-intensive types of food must be contained.
● Waste in all areas of the food system must be minimised.
● The political and economic governance of the food system must be improved to increase food system productivity and sustainability. The solution is not just to produce more food, or change diets, or eliminate waste. The potential threats are so great that they cannot be met by making changes piecemeal to parts of the food system. It is essential that policy-makers address all areas at the same time.

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