Agriculture in the United Kingdom
Agriculture in the United Kingdom uses 71% of the country's land area, employs 1.5% of its workforce (476,000 people) and contributes 0.62% of its gross value added (£9.9 billion). The UK produces less than 60% of the food it eats. Although agricultural activity occurs in most rural locations, it is concentrated in East Anglia (crops) and the South West (livestock). Of the 212,000 farm holdings, there is a large variation in size from under 20 to over 100 hectares.Despite skilled farmers, high technology, fertile soil and subsidies, which primarily come from the European Union (EU), farm earnings are relatively low, mainly due to low prices at the farm gate. Low earnings, high land prices and a shortage of let farmland discourage young people from joining the profession. The average age of the British farm holder is now 59.Recently there have been moves towards organic farming in an attempt to sustain profits, and many farmers supplement their income by diversifying activities away from pure agriculture. Biofuels present new opportunities for farmers against a background of rising fears about fossil fuel prices, energy security, and climate change. There is increasing awareness that farmers have an important role to play as custodians of the British countryside and wildlife.