Eurostat publishes preliminary 2019 farm output and income data

Eurostat has now published preliminary estimates of 2019 agricultural output and income. The value of agricultural output in current prices shows a small further increase in 2019 as compared to 2018. Compared to the previous peak in 2013, agricultural output value has grown by just under 4% in the past six years. This is mainly due to an increase in the value of crop output, with the increase in the value of livestock output lagging behind. However, because of greater spending on intermediate consumption, gross value added in agriculture remains just below the record 2017 level.

Operating surplus (the return to land, capital and family labour) also increased compared to 2018 but is still well below the record 2017 level. Compared to the previous peak in 2013, operating surplus has increased by 4.4%. Allowing for payments on borrowed capital and rented land, the figure for net entrepreneurial income (family farm income) also shows a small recovery compared to 2018 and has increased by 5.5% compared to the previous peak in 2013.

Source:  Eurostat, Economic Accounts for Agriculture [aact_eaa01], values in current prices

Averaging over the EU28 conceals very different changes at the country level (and even more so at regional and enterprise level). The country changes for three variables, gross value added (GVA), operating surplus and net entrepreneurial income are shown in the following chart. In general, volatility increases as one moves from GVA to operating surplus to net entrepreneurial income as the degree of leverage increases.

For example, GVA in Denmark increased by 58%, operating surplus by 188% and entrepreneurial income by a whopping 760% (from €168 million in 2018 to €1,446 million in 2019, the best outcome ever obtained by Danish farmers, and no doubt particularly welcome as it follows some years with negative income).

Similarly, GVA in Estonia increased by 51%, operating surplus by 86% and entrepreneurial income by 202% in 2019 compared to 2018.

Germany also shows a strong recovery, with GVA increasing by 28%, operating surplus by 59% and entrepreneurial income by 137%, though the latter still lies well below the levels observed at the start of the decade.

At the other end of the table are those countries that experienced a fall in entrepreneurial income in 2019, including Romania, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, France and Slovakia.

Farmers across the EU may operate in a single market, but output and income trends remain highly divergent due to differences in enterprise specialisation, production systems, weather conditions and market trends.

Source:  Eurostat, Economic Accounts for Agriculture [aact_eaa01], values in current prices

This post was written by Alan Matthews

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