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Über dieses Buch

This book explores the relationships between the energy costs and other farm variables in the European Union (including the UK) over a recent period of six years. It examines labour, farm land area, outputs/inputs, investments, assets, taxes, and subsidies in the context of policy measures and the farm structure.

The book provides a deep insight into how energy cost and other factors in the farming sector relate to each other and as a result how farm planning can be made more efficient, more environmentally sustainable and more competitive. It will be of interest to policy-makers, governments, researchers and advanced students of economics, policy and the environment.



Chapter 1. Insights Taken from Bibliometric Analysis of the Several Dimensions for Energy in Agriculture

The concept of energy associated with the agricultural sector has several dimensions and is interrelated to different issues both directly and indirectly. In fact, the energy consumption in farms is interrelated to their internal characteristics, such as performance, competitiveness, efficiency, type of agricultural system and assets. External dimensions, namely those related to agricultural policies also have their implications on energy use by farms. The agricultural policies, within the framework for the Common Agricultural Policy, through its several instruments and measures are determinant in the evolution of agriculture in the European Union, in general, and for farm energy use, in particular. In this context, the main objectives of this research are to highlight the main insights for the several dimensions of the energy concept in the agricultural sector from scientific publications. To achieve these objectives a bibliometric analysis was carried out, considering the documents available in the Web of Science (Core Collection) for the topic “agr* energy”. The consideration of the topic for the search, in this way, allows for a wider analysis. As main insights, it is worth highlighting the importance of concepts such as the efficiency in the farm energy use, competitiveness, network, renewable and alternative sources of energy and decarbonisation. Researchers affiliated to institutions from the USA, European countries, China, Brazil and Canada are the most productive and cited ones.
Vítor João Pereira Domingues Martinho

Chapter 2. Characteristics of Farms in the European Union: Relationships Between Energy Costs and Other Variables

The very characteristics of agriculture call for specific attention when it comes to the evolution of this sector across the globe. In fact, this is a sector which produces essential products to meet basic human needs, but usually requires public intervention, through agricultural policies, to avoid an unbalanced evolution between demand and supply having consequences on market prices. This is because agricultural policies are so famous across the world and specifically in the European Union, in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy. On the other hand, the great diversity of agricultural realities among regions calls for specific strategies to be adjusted to local particularities. In addition, climate change and global warming bring new challenges, namely in the use of critical resources (because of their scarcity and environmental impacts), such as energy and water. In this context, it would seem pertinent to assess the interrelationships between energy use in European Union farms and other farming variables, namely to identify how the energy consumption is affected by other dimensions in the sector. For this purpose, data from the European Union Farm Accountancy Data Network were considered for the period 2013–2018. This statistical information was first explored through descriptive analysis and then with matrices of correlation. As main insights, it is important to note that energy costs increased, on average over the period considered, by 2.7%. On the other hand, farms with a higher level of intensification and higher energy costs are those that receive more subsidies.
Vítor João Pereira Domingues Martinho

Chapter 3. Reducing Energy Costs in European Union Farms: Analysis of Efficiency

Efficiency in the use of resources is one of the most adjusted approaches towards achieving sustainable development in any economic sector, including agriculture. In fact, the current challenges surrounding the global farming sector are to maintain, or even, in some circumstances, increase production in such a way that it is compatible with the increasingly desirable goals for decarbonisation. Amongst the resources which are critical for sustainability within the agricultural sector, one of the most significant is energy, considering the needs of this resource to generate numerous farming production factors and the energetic requirements for its various activities. This is particularly important in the regions and countries in the European Union, due to the variety of contexts and the framework of the European agricultural policies, where the design of adjusted policy instruments is always a great task. In this way, the main objective of this research is to analyse farming efficiency in European Union agricultural regions, over the period 2013–2018. Considering this objective, data from the European Union Farm Accountancy Data Network were considered and first analysed through factor-cluster assessment, to obtain homogenous decision-making units, and then through data envelopment analysis. For the data envelopment analysis, a model with the inverse of the energy costs as output was considered. The main findings show that the savings in energy costs in European Union farms have impacts on the output as well as on other inputs.
Vítor João Pereira Domingues Martinho
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