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Project presents documentation and analysis of farming
livelihoods in Oxfordshire, one of the counties in South-east England.
This project is a study in social ecology: how do people become
farmers, how do they live as farmers, and how do they leave farming.
The landscape may be shaped by farming, but the landscape which farmers
inhabit is also a social, economic, and cultural one.
The AgriCultured project
collected information using oral history techniques. Ten farmers were
interviewed in 2002/2003. Transcripts of the farmers interviews
are available on this website. Analysis of five farmer's
interviews are provided in a briefing document and
an accompanying 'radio' documentary. You can listen to the radio
programme on-line or download it. The briefing and radio programme are
presented for use in a workshop by educational workers or the like.
The original audio recordings of the farmers interviews and
documentation were deposited with the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies on
Two Oxfordshire farmers kept a photo-diary for the AgriCultured
Project. They recorded their everyday life in early 2003, documenting
the people, places and things that were meaningful to them. You can see
their photographs and notes on this website.
Gloucestershire farmers have had similar farming experiences to
the Oxfordshire Farmers interviewed for this project. They reviewed
exerts from the Oxfordshire farmers interviews on a radio programme
called Farming Days, broadcast in
March 2004 on Forest of Dean Community Radio in Gloucestershire.
The AgriCultured project contributed to A Rough Guide to the UK Farming
Crises by Grassroots Action on Food and Farming published in May 2004, see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=1910.
Farming is in Crisis.
Looking at Oxfordshire in particular, income from farming for most
agricultural products was lower in the year 2000 than in 1990/91. For
some types of farming it is much less. The average income in 1997/98
for lowland cattle and sheep for example was about 50% of the 1990/91
figure, similarly for pigs and poultry, for diary it was about 70%.
Only for farming cereals was the average income above that of 1990/91
by about 50%.
Oxfordshire is the most
rural County in the South East of England, its population density is
2.3 persons/hectare - little more than one third of its neighbour
Berkshire. In 1996 Oxfordshire had 3,605 people in the full-time
There were 2,083 farm
holdings in Oxfordshire in 1996 and the dominant farm types are
cropping (64%) and grazing (30%). Although farm sizes are relatively
large in Oxfordshire, most farms are family farms - about 91%, with
little agribusiness. The age profile of farmers is heavily skewed: 57%
are aged over 50, and 29% are over 60. It's not surprising then that
almost half expect to retire in the next 10 years. But 52% don't expect
a family member to take on the farm when they retire.
Source: The Oxfordshire
farming study, Oxfordshire County Council, 1999
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