HC Deb 06 November 1986 vol 103 cc541-2W
Mr. Colvin

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his definition of a small farmer; and whether this definition correspondes to that used by the European Commission.

Mr. Donald Thompson

Farm business size is now measured by the financial potential of the holding in terms of the margins which might be expected from its crops and stock. The margins used are standard gross margins (SGM) at average 1978–80 values, quantified in the United Kingdom in British size units (BSU). Conventionally, a small farm is taken to be one in the range four to 16 BSU. The principles underlying the European Communities' system of farm classification are the same as those adopted in the United Kingdom. The maximum threshold for a small farm under the EC classification is, however, about half that adopted in the United Kingdom, reflecting the smaller average size of holdings in the EC overall.

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