Agriculture and food in United Kingdom

United Kingdom agriculture statistics

Number of agricultural advertisements in United Kingdom:15772 ads
Number of agricultural events in United Kingdom:5168 events
Number of agricultural companies in United Kingdom:35143 companies

United Kingdom agriculture, farming and food

Agriculture and farming in United Kingdom main information

Agriculture in the UK may bring to mind an image of rolling hills, rich green fields filled with fluffy sheep, and pleasant sounds of humming tractors on country lanes, but the real picture is a bit different. Farming in the UK is an economic powerhouse, full of modern technology, highly mechanized. In fact, it had a huge impact on the UK’s trade success in the challenges of the global market. For thousands of years, agriculture and farming are an inherent and indispensable part of the UK’s economic system. Together with the growing population, the demand for fresh crops has risen. The landscape of the modern UK’s farming has been shaped by the growing need to feed a growing population. The goal was achieved by the more sophisticated production of crops and animal products. Large parts of the UK were devoted to farming and crop production. Especially the part of southeast England where hedged fields, villages, and farmsteads are the norm. This part of the UK for centuries share a long tradition of farming and agriculture.

In the 18th century growing production of animal products and crops was mostly caused by three major factors:

  • The large cultivation of new types of crops such as maize (corn) and potatoes
  • The upgrades of the horse-draw seed press that made farming easier, labour less intensive and harvests more productive
  • The Enclosure Laws which limited the common land available to small farmers

Another milestone for the developments in the agricultural area was the Second World War. During this time, farming was strongly controlled by the government. Its main goal was to create the most effective ways of farming to ensure maximum productivity from the land. Crops and overall farming were under strict control, especially of what was grown and distributed. Due to the lack of mass import and hungry population, the UK relied mostly on farming during the war years, making it the main source of necessary supplies. With the help of the Women’s Land Army and major development of machinery, production efficiency, and modernization of farming methods, the UK was able to ensure that neither troops nor civilians faced famine during those difficult times.

Nowadays farming is still quite an important sector of the UK’s economy. The modern agriculture and farming types can be divided into three major areas:

  • Crops growing also called arable farming
  • Livestock also known as pastoral farming
  • Mixed farming, combined pastoral and arable farming methods

Farming types are strongly affected by the climate demands and challenges which farmers are faced with. The North and the West of the UK are characterized by wet and windy weather, steeper slopes, and highland areas, which are more suited for pastoral farming. The South and East of the UK are more in favor of arable farming thanks to the flatter ground, warmer and dryer weather conditions, and more fertile soil.

The UK economy is contributed by farming by the four main areas, which were enumerated by the Contribution of the UK Agriculture report from 2017, authorized by Development Economics. The first area noticed in the report is the farm performance or the volume of agricultural outputs (amount of crops produced) as well as the proportion of the food produced and consumed in the UK. The next one being economic performance which takes into account both employment and economic output of overall farming. The economic performance also measures the value of direct farming and the role of farming as a supporter of the UK food manufacturing, which is one of the largest sectors of the UK economy. Another area mentioned in the report is the environment and the role of farming in countryside management, as well as the role of farmlands in the production of renewable energy. This part also deals with the amounts of greenhouse gases emission as well as the use of resources used to grow food. The last area covered by the report is a social contribution, which tells about the role of farmland in the lives of people as well as public goods such as the enjoyment and recreation of the countryside.

Farming and agriculture in the UK ensures employment for over four million people and is the sector of the UK economy with a total worth of £120 billion. There are 149000 farm and farm-related businesses across the country. This vast amount of farming offers to generate a greater contribution to the UK economy than other sectors such as insurance, finance, education, or even motor trade. Maintenance and access to the right vehicles and farming machinery are quite expensive for farmers and can affect finances needed to be spent on feed, livestock, or other expenses. Support for farmers is vital, thanks to them they can afford new technologies, cover land costs as well as market products. It is also some kind of insurance for more difficult times such as a crisis occurs. Land purchase is usually dependent on loans and mortgages which are offered by almost every major bank. Loans are mortgages are characterized by flexible payments to assist farmers with buying land, farm buildings as well as to conduct important changes and improvements to their infrastructure. The specific agriculture finance team takes care of all applications.

According to data provided by various sources, up to 61% of the total food consumed in the UK is provided by farmers and farming. Additionally, up to 66% of other businesses are related to farming, such as B&Bs, farm shops, or wedding venues. All sectors related to agriculture generated £680 million just in 2017/18. Agriculture also provides products for excessive export. These factors provided steady and successful job opportunities for rural communities, with labor and source of income for hundreds of thousands of British people. Taking into account the fact that every £1 invested in agriculture generates up to £8 income to the UK economy, it is obvious that the agriculture sector is of the greatest value for the economic system. Incomes are not only generated directly by crops and production but also by related industries such as renewable energy, tourism, science, and engineering. Sources such as the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have established that overall income generated by food export has risen by 35% just in a few years. The most important destinations for UK exports are France, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Irish Republic. Just in 2015 overall imports generated an income of £18 billion to the UK economy.

Apart from economics, agriculture and farming in the UK is an important part of the culture, national identity, heritage, and history. Also, the nostalgic and idyllic landscapes of the British rural areas cannot be omitted, as they are not only attractive for locals but also are a huge part of tourism and are adored by tourists from all over the world. Taking into account the fact that agriculture has not only economical values, but it is also a vital part of the UK, and numbers alone cannot simply define its value. It provides recreational and learning opportunities, protected spaces for endangered and wild animals as well as historical and cultural landmarks.

The three reasons why the maintenance and development of agriculture in the UK is worth are:

  • The positive contributions to the economy, with incomes bigger than any other industries, exceeding billions of pounds with crops and animal products value. Success in this financial aspect is also crucial to maintain millions of jobs, especially in areas where steady and stable job opportunities are extremely hard to find.
  • The products provided by the farming are of much greater quality. They are safer for health, fresh, and most importantly affordable. The UK has one of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, which results in tasty, healthy, and safe food. The quality of food is also ensured by high standards and strict regulations.
  • Agriculture and farming is essential for the development of countryside areas and the environment. Development and upgrades of farming methods and machinery help to reduce pesticides, the reintroduction of native species, wildlife preservation, and better and safer habitats for food to grow.

It is obvious that the success of agriculture in the UK is not only dependent on the number of crops produced but also on its high quality and high standards that can be assured in comparison to other countries. Just like other industries, agriculture in the UK has to face many problems and challenges. Especially with climate change labor conditions and environmental challenges being in the spotlight, the agriculture industry in the UK is a matter of broad discussion. One of the most challenging elements of environmental challenges is the fact that the use of pesticides, amounts of animal waste, and use of fertilizers negatively affect water conditions in British streams and rivers. Almost 40% of water does not meet expectations and is ranked as below the average in quality. To avoid this particular problem, strict regulations are being constantly introduced. They force farmers to use cleaner and greener approaches, especially in large-scale farming.

Another problem for UK agriculture is the lack of laborers. As the National Farmers Union notices only 1% of the 60,000 seasonal workers are British. 99% of seasonal workers usually come from Eastern Europe, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania. Due to the ‘Brexit effect' the labor has faced a 30-40% shortfall comparing to previous years. The ‘Brexit effect’ also has faced local farmers with the problem of imports. Whilst standards of crops and meat in the UK are high, imported products may be of lower quality, resulting in undercutting prices of the domestic products of the higher quality.

UK Agriculture interesting facts:

  • British farmers are supported by 77% of shoppers
  • Up to 60% of food in the UK is produced in the UK
  • 5.5 tons of potatoes are produced annually in the UK
  • 7.8 tons of wheat is produced annually in the UK
  • The top crop-producer is East Anglia
  • Almost 3.7 billion visits are made yearly by UK residents to the countryside. The visits generate income of £19 billion each year
  • Almost 70% of the UK’s land areas are managed by farming

Agricultural markets United Kingdom

George Perry Ltd.

Manchester Wholesale Market

Scrabster Fishmarket

Agricultural and food classified in United Kingdom

Agricultural advertisements in United Kingdom, buy and sell classified ads. Agricultural products in United Kingdom, buyers, sellers, importers and exporters: fruits, vegetables, fishes, herbs, aquaculture, spices, grains and cereals, flowers, plants, meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, processed food, farm land for sale and more.

Agricultural & Food events and conference in United Kingdom

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Biological and Ecological Engineering

Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Energy and Environmental Engineering

Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Marine and Environmental Sciences

Nutrition and Food Engineering

Agricultural companies in United Kingdom

United Kingdom: agricultural machinery companies, food producer, farms, investment companies, agribusiness companies, rural services, agri commodities.

Trinnians Ltd

Armstrong House, Doncaster


Windsor House LUTON LU15BJ United Kingdom




Richard House Winckley Square PRESTON PR13HP United Kingdom


Middleton Estate Office ANDOVER SP116PL United Kingdom




Middle Farm LEWES BN86LJ United Kingdom


Church Farm PONTEFRACT WF83RU United Kingdom

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