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Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

image of Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average over 40% of land and water resources, and thus has significant affect on the environment. This report provides the latest and most comprehensive data and analysis on the environmental performance of agriculture in OECD countries since 1990. It covers key environmental themes including soil, water, air and biodiversity and looks at recent policy developments in all 30 countries.

Over recent years the environmental performance of agriculture has improved in many countries, largely due to consumer pressure and changing public opinion. Many OECD countries are now tracking the environmental performance of agriculture, which is informing policy makers and society on the trends in agri-environmental conditions, and can provide a valuable aid to policy analysis. The indicators in this report provide crucial information to monitor and analyse the wide range of policy measures used in agriculture today, and how they are affecting the environment. 

Did You Know?  In OECD countries, agriculture uses on average 40% of land and water resources.

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OECD Country Trends of Environmental Conditions related to Agriculture since 1990: European Union

Overall agricultural production in the EU15 has changed little over the past decade. Over the period 1990-92 to 2002-04 the volume of production rose by 2%, although the value of production increased by almost 30%, despite a nearly 5% reduction in the area farmed (Figures 3.31.2, 3.31.3 and 3.31.4). Agriculture accounted for around 2% of GDP and over 4% of total employment in the EU15 in 2003, but these averages mask great variation across EU member countries (Figure 3.31.1). There is also great diversity of production and farm structures in the EU agricultural sector, and that diversity has increased with the addition of 10 new member states in 2004 [1]. European agri-environmental trends highlight continuing challenges. The main source of agricultural production growth over the next 20 years is expected to arise from crop yield increases and improvements in livestock productivity, rather than any expansion in the area under cultivation or livestock numbers. Projections of EU15 wheat and coarse grains from 2007 to 2016, for example, suggest yields rising at around 1% per annum while the area cultivated is likely to be stable or slightly reduced [2]. Similarly for milk production, while cow numbers are projected to fall by nearly 1% per annum up to 2016, milk yields are expected to rise by over 0.5% annually [2].

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