Published: 30 March 2012

Only every third euro of a farmer's income came from agriculture in 2010

In 2010, an average of 32 per cent of a farmer family's income came from the farm, while in 2000 the corresponding share was 37 per cent. The share of agriculture has thus diminished in the income formation of a farmer family. The income share of agriculture varies strongly between farms, however. One third of farmer families were part-time agricultural entrepreneurs in that their income from agriculture was only under five per cent of the owner spouses' total taxable income. Correspondingly, nine per cent of families are full-time farmers so that they received over 95 per cent of their income from agriculture. These data derive from the 2010 statistics on the finances of agricultural and forestry enterprises published by Statistics Finland.

Income of family farms by source of income in 2000 and 2010. The farms are grouped according to the income share of agriculture

  Year Income from agriculture as a share of total income
  All income brackets, total Percentage share of income subject to state taxation Under 5% of income from agriculture Percentage share of income subject to state taxation 5% to 50% of income from agriculture Percentage share of income subject to state taxation 50% to 95 % of income from agriculture Percentage share of income subject to state taxation Over 95 % of income from agriculture Percentage share of income subject to state taxation
Number of farms 2000 70 083 .. 16 443 .. 25 472 .. 22 327 .. 5 841 ..
2010 53 317 .. 16 975 .. 19 379 .. 11 875 .. 5 088 ..
Spouses' combined income subject to state taxation EUR 2000 35 235 100 37 771 100 37 924 100 32 646 100 26 266 100
2010 53 641 100 57 419 100 54 444 100 52 549 100 40 520 100
Spouses' income from agriculture and capital income EUR 2000 13 187 37 413 1 8 947 24 24 149 74 25 735 98
2010 16 974 32 544 1 12 059 22 38 666 74 39 875 98
Spouses' earned income EUR, total 2000 11 140 32 20 407 54 15 449 41 2 292 7 80 0
2010 19 569 36 31 609 55 23 304 43 4 594 9 126 0
Spouses' income transfers EUR, total 2000 2 913 8 4 389 12 3 431 9 1 968 6 105 0
2010 6 081 11 8 726 15 6 809 13 3 643 7 179 0
Spouses' income from forestry EUR, total 2000 3 137 9 3 120 8 4 183 11 2 724 8 194 1
2010 3 283 6 3 624 6 4 067 7 2 865 5 139 0
Spouses' other income EUR, total 2000 5 147 15 9 873 26 6 273 17 1 681 5 178 1
2010 8 492 16 14 277 25 8 678 16 3 351 6 486 1

The total taxable income of spouses receiving less than five per cent of income from agriculture was, on average, around EUR 57,400, while the combined total income of full-time working spouses receiving over 95 per cent of income from agriculture was nearly EUR 17,000 lower. Differences in total income between these groups are partly explained by the number of income earners from agriculture: the group receiving under five per cent of agricultural income had an average of 1.74 income earners per farm and the group of full-time farmer families 1.50.

The chapter on 'Theme of the statistics' examines the full-time nature of agricultural enterprises, which in part seeks to respond to the proposed revision concerning the European Commission's agricultural policy after 2013. One objective of this proposal is to assign the basic income support for agriculture only to active farmers. To define the activeness of the farm the Commission has put forward as one alternative that at least five per cent of the income of the farm owners should derive from agriculture. The definition sounds easy but its verification in practice is at least challenging. Firstly, the number of farms owned by corporations and limited companies is considerable and their share is constantly growing. How to define corporation owners' income from outside agriculture? Secondly, nowadays small-scale secondary income earning can be combined into income from agriculture. The combination is defended by the fact that small-scale secondary income earning is often practised with means of agricultural production and it would be difficult to separate secondary income. Thirdly, years of crop failure and big investments may temporarily lower income from agriculture below the activeness limit of five per cent. Farms have conventionally acquired additional income from forestry and often forestry has been seen as a lifeline for agriculture. Rarely accomplished large trade in wood could take the farm below the five per cent income limit.

In addition to the Introduction, this publication has four separate main chapters.
Chapter 2 discusses the results of agricultural enterprises. The data in the chapter derive from tax forms 2 for farmers and data obtained by Statistics Finland's own collection. The statistical population examined in the chapter is formed of all agricultural entrepreneurs who are subject to the act on the income tax of agriculture and practise agriculture on a farm included in the farm register. In 2010 the population defined in Chapter 2 included 59,914 agricultural enterprises, of which 53,327 were managed by natural persons, 4,384 by corporations subject to taxation and 2,203 by estates. The data are presented as a uniform time series between 2004 and 2010.
Data in Chapter 3 were obtained from the database of personal taxation. The population comprises the 53,327 farmers working as natural persons from the previous chapter and their 38,657 spouses. The data are summed up by spouse. All data on income other than from agriculture received by the farmer family are derived from the personal taxation data. The data are presented in the tables uniformly from 2000 to 2010.
Chapter 4 deals with forestry. The population intended here is formed of all those having returned tax forms 2c for forestry, comprising of 271,326 persons liable to pay tax in 2010. By legal form 209,922 of these were legal persons, 36,856 property corporations or those subject to taxation and 24,548 estates. Data on agricultural entrepreneurs and other forest owners are also available separately. The smallest area unit in the tables is municipality. Data on forestry are available for the years 2006-2010.


Source: Statistics on the finances of agricultural and forestry enterprises, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Hannu Maliniemi 09 1734 2796

Director in charge: Leena Storgårds


Updated 30.3.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on the finances of agricultural and forestry enterprises [e-publication].
2010. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 1.11.2014].
Access method: http://stat.fi/til/mmtal/2010/mmtal_2010_2012-03-30_tie_001_en.html.

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