In 2015 farmers will have the possibility to opt for the small farmers’ scheme, which will regroup into one lump-sum all direct payments for approximately 2,3 million eligible farms, whose support
does not exceed €1 250.
The European Parliament resolution on the future of small agricultural holdings highlights the role of small farms in preserving Europe’s countryside and biodiversity, as well as their role in preserving local manufacturing traditions and products, and providing a livelihood for millions of Europeans. It also highlights the difficulties of establishing a single universal definition of what constitutes a small farm.
For the purpose of this paper, a small farm has been defined as one with either a surface of less than 5 hectares or with an economic output of less than €25 000. As illustrated here, statistics on small farms vary widely, depending on whether economic (some 3 million farms and 20 million regular workers) or physical (more than 8 million farms and 16 million workers) criteria are used to define them.