ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS AND THE ECONOMICS OF AGRICULTURAL FARMS (Warunki srodowiskowe a ekonomika gospodarstw rolnych)
Environmental conditions exert an influence on the economics of agricultural farms. This fact has been confirmed by the results of research covering private farms, which operate on the territory of the 'Green Lungs of Poland' region included in the 'Natura 2000' network. Three methods helped to establish the existence of such influence. Firstly, surveys conducted with the help of questionnaires designed to collect the subjective opinions of farmers, which covered 285 farms, each with the acreage of at least 5 ha of arable land. Secondly, analyses of information concerning economic relations and efficiency in managing the operation of FADN agricultural holdings, and, thirdly, analyses of farm accountancy data relating to advantages achieved thanks to the implementation of project packages offered by agricultural-environmental programmes. Owing to the application of these methods the presented results permit to form a certain picture of the influence of environmental restrictions on the economics of agricultural farms situated in the 'Natura 2000' areas. This picture is incomplete due to insufficient information on the examined groups of farms and, in the first place, due to the fact that the process of imposing restrictions in the areas covered by the 'Natura 2000' network has been continuing for a very short time. Farms operating in the areas subject to environmental restrictions undoubtedly have less favourable environmental conditions for developing agricultural, and especially, plant production. Transfers within the framework of Common Agricultural Policy, especially LFA payments and agricultural-environmental payments, help eliminate differences in the economic conditions. The population of farms operating in the 'Natura 2000' areas also has smaller chances to become employed. The general economic conditions are conducive to the acceleration of changes in the agrarian structure through the liquidation of some agricultural farms and the enlargement of other agricultural holdings. The threat of depopulation of communes situated in the 'Natura 2000' areas constitutes a problem. Much will depend on the value attributed by society to goods and environmental services, which should translate into payments for the created public goods and environmental services.
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