chapter  2
12 Pages

Farms and Villages: Situation, Distribution and Form

WE often tend to overlook, or at least to underestimate the great variety of farms and farmers. At one end of the scale are large farms and important businessmenfarmers, and, at the other, subsistence smallholders scratching a living out of a few acres of impoverished, maybe inherently poor, soil. There are full-time occupiers of farm holdings with whom must be included market gardeners, horticulturalists and poultry keepers. Then there are two kinds of part-time occupier, one for whom farming is the main means of livelihood but who has some other occupation, and the other for whom farming is just a 'spare-time' occupation At a different level, is the hobby-occupier who farms for motives other than for profit, such as pleasure or amenity; this is not to say, however, that he farms at a loss consistently and, indeed, he may make a good profit, but profit is not his primary aim. Some holdings comprise mainly accommodation land used in connection with some other trade or business, for example by butchers, hacking businesses and the like. Finally, there are institutions of different kinds who run farms for a variety of reasons, for example farms attached to educational institutions or those under the control of County Agricultural Executive Committees. Some three quarters of all holdings in England and Wales are worked by full-time occupiers who between them farm nearly ninety per cent of the total area under crops and grass.