More and more farmers supplementing their income

While farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, more farmers seek to supplement their incomes, particularly by selling farm products directly to consumers, offering storage facilities for caravans and tourist accommodation.

Various types of diversification

Various types of diversification

Increased sales of farm products

In 2003 almost 5,400 farms (6 percent of the total) sold agricultural products directly to consumers. The most popular produce sold includes potatoes, flowers, vegetables, fruit and cheese. Nearly 2 thousand farmers primarily sell potatoes, more than 1 thousand sell vegetables, fruit and flowers.

Selling directly to consumers is most common (14 percent) among horticultural holdings. About 7 percent of arable holdings sell products directly to consumers and only 3 percent of cattle farms.

Storage facilities for caravans

In 2003 almost 4 thousand farms offered storage facilities, for caravans for instance,. Most of them are cattle farms.

It appears that two-thirds of farmers offering storage facilities are hobby farmers or smallholders. This makes it the most common non-agricultural activity on small farms.

Diversification by farm size, 2003

Diversification by farm size, 2003

Agro-tourism popular

Agro-tourism is a third possibility to generate additional income. In 2003 almost 2,500 agricultural enterprises offered holiday accommodation. Agro-tourism is most commonly found among farmers in the province of Zeeland. Almost 9 percent of farmers in this province offer holiday accommodation. This type of tourism is least frequent in the provinces of Groningen, South Holland and North Brabant. Approximately 60 percent of the farms with agro-tourism facilities are cattle farms.

Half of wind turbines found on large farms

Wind energy is mostly generated on large farms. Altogether nearly 460 farms generate wind energy. About 40 percent of them are arable holdings. Some 40 percent of wind turbines are located on farms in the province of Flevoland.

Sjoerd Hiethaar and Cor Pierik