19 January 1999
Farmland becoming ‘arable desert’ — study
By Isabel Davies
LARGE areas of farmland are in danger of becoming “arable deserts,” concludes a major farming study released yesterday (Monday).
The study, commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council, forecasts that the crisis in agriculture will lead to farm amalgamations and fewer but larger farms.
Almost half of 500 farmers who took part in the study said they expected to retire within the next 10 years.
More than half said they did not expect a family member to take on the farm.
The study, which was launched at a conference in Abingdon, warns that the industry is in crisis and undergoing a period of dramatic restructuring.
The conference aims to bring together all relevant parties “to formulate appropriate responses,” said Martin Stott, Oxfordshires social and economic development manager.