Given the storied history of the UK as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, it’s no surprise then to learn that the country’s agriculture sector is an economic powerhouse. Highly mechanized and pivotal to the nation's global trade success, farming and agriculture in the UK are more dynamic and essential than ever before especially since the country has exited the European Union and will need to meet its population’s food demands.
Farming and agriculture have deep roots in the United Kingdom, dating back thousands of years. Over the centuries, the industry has evolved and diversified to meet the needs of a modern society. This process has been aided by the rapid development of new technologies – a trend that continues to this day with the adoption of innovative concepts like smart farming, organic farming as well as sustainable technologies.
Today, UK farming can be broadly categorized into three key areas: arable farming (growing grain crops like wheat and barley, livestock farming (raising animals such as cows and sheep) and mixed farming (a combination of both). These divisions have naturally emerged due to the varied climate and terrain conditions across the country. The South and East, with their flatter terrain, fertile soils, and milder climate, are ideal for arable farming. Conversely, the highlands of the North and West, characterized by steep slopes, wetter weather and higher winds, are better suited for livestock farming.
The UK might be associated with finances and technology, but it’s farming and agriculture that contribute the most to its economy. This is a £120 billion industry that employs over four million people across approximately 149,000 farm businesses scattered across the country. You might be surprised to learn that agriculture makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the motor trade, education, finance and insurance sectors.