Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

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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: United Kingdom

Agriculture’s contribution to the economy is small but its environmental impact significant. Between 1990 and 2004 farming’s contribution to GDP and employment almost halved to 0.8% and 1.8% respectively by 2004 (Figure 3.29.1). Farming generates both environmental costs, calculated at approximately GBP 1 450 (EUR 2 100) million annually (2003 prices), and benefits, estimated at about GBP 1 230 (EUR 1 780) million annually, around 0.13% and 0.11% respectively of GDP in 2003 [1, 2, 3]. The agricultural sector has been contracting. The volume of farm production declined by over 8% during the period 1990-92 to 2002-04, together with a reduction in the volume of purchased farm input use, including –6% for pesticides, –13% for inorganic nitrogen fertilisers, –19% for inorganic phosphate fertilisers, and –24% for direct on-farm energy consumption (Figures 3.29.2 and 3.29.3). Grazing livestock is the dominant sub-sector, with livestock farming accounting for two-thirds of agricultural land use, with much of the rest under arable crops, largely concentrated in Central and Eastern England [4, 5].

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