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Australia is a country which by its diversity in climate and wide variety of areas of interest is to everyone in the agricultural sector. Next to dairy farming, there are excellent opportunities in intensive arable crop with potatoes and onions to large grain companies. Over the years, we also have supported multiple pig farmers, growers and gardeners during their relocation. Most emigrants from the Netherlands are located in the upper rainfall- and irrigation areas of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Because of the mild climate, these are areas with good agricultural perspective. Most coastal areas remain green throughout the year. The average Dutch emigrant is doing very well in Australia because of their good education, skills and adaptability.

General

Australian society has a cultural richness and diversity unequalled by any other country. Though many people come to Australia for the first time with the stereotype Australian in mind, the fact is that there is no such thing as a typical Australian. Whether it is the Aborigines, who first migrated into the Great Southern Land 40,000 years ago, the first European colonists of the late 18th century, or those in the immigration wave of the past century, they have all contributed to the image of contemporary Australian society. 

‘Multiculturalism’ is the principle on which Australian society is based today. It is the concept of groups of people from different cultural backgrounds being able to live together, integrate in society, and yet retain their own cultural identities. The Aborigines have recently started to stand up for their rights in a modern Australia, and they are likely to see developments in this respect in the 21st century. 

Social Services

.Australia has a well-deserved reputation for its pioneering work in the field of social security by introducing, as early as 1909, pension schemes for elderly and disabled people. The Federal Government provides assistance to people whose have lost their means of income as a result of occupational disability, old-age retirement, or because of an income gap due to e.g. unemployment or sickness. Old-age pensions – These are granted to men from the age of 65 and to women from the age of 60. Benefits to single-parent families – These are granted to men or women who have to raise children under the age of 16 without the help of a partner. Child Benefit – Depending on income, a child’s parents or guardian are granted a child benefit until the child has reached the age of 16. The list of pensions, benefits, and allowances also include: occupational disability benefits, supplementary child benefits, sickness benefits, allowances for jobseekers, and allowances for new starters, etc. The amounts of various benefits and pensions are reviewed annually. For benefits under the social security system, no contributions have to be paid, and they are usually paid directly to the beneficiary. The emphasis is on income support based on need. Eligibility for most benefits is dependent on income tests. In 1988, a review of the educational and training systems was initiated to do away with the unnecessary educational discrepancies between the various States. Primary schools provide a general elementary programme for seven to eight years, up to year 6. Students start secondary education in year 7. The final two years of secondary school are not compulsory, but three quarters of all students stay at school until year 11, and almost two thirds stay on until year 12. Students who have reached the minimum school-leaving age of 15, or 16 in Tasmania, are allowed to find a job or enrol on a vocationally oriented course at an institute for technical and further education (TAFE). Those who go on to the end of secondary education, i.e. year 12, have the opportunity of continuing their studies at a TAFE institute or a university. After year 12, students have to take their secondary school exams (High School Certificate). A points system is used for admission to some universities. During their stay in Australia on a temporary visa, immigrants have to pay a few thousand dollars of extra tuition fees in some States.Health care in Australia is based on private and public facilities: a predominantly private medical profession, private and public hospitals, private and public health funding. Medicare, the institution for national health care, is partly funded by an income-related levy (1.5%) and partly by the general tax system. Medicare covers the services of public hospitals, the treatments by salaried clinicians, General Practitioners, specialists, and optometrists. From their day of arrival, immigrants are eligible for the benefits provided by Medicare. It is therefore necessary for immigrants to enrol upon arrival. Approximately 80% of Australians have private insurance for medical services not covered by Medicare, such as dental care, glasses and contact lenses, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments. There are 73 health funds, and the main ones are MBF, HCF and Medibank Private. The costs of private insurance policies may vary from a few cents to about 5 to 20 dollars a week per person depending on the insurance class.

Climate

Australia consists of the main island and a number of small islands, and it comprises a total of approximately 7,682,300 square kilometres, which means that it has roughly the same size as the mainland of the United States. Including Tasmania, the country spans 30 degrees latitude, which makes for a great variety of climates, ranging from temperate to tropical. In Tasmania and on the south-western mainland, there are highlands where the weather may change quickly. Along the country’s east coast, there is the Great Dividing Range, i.e. the eroded remains of a massive mountain range dividing the temperate east-coast area, with its farmlands and population centres, from the somewhat drier inland area, with its vastness and magnificent splendour of colours. Towards the north, there are luxuriant tropical rain forests and marshlands, and in the west there is a giant ancient plateau that abruptly ends in the Indian Ocean. On land and in the water, there are many unique species of plants and animals that may be just as famous as the scenery. Their uniqueness stems from the fact that, approximately 55 million years ago, Australia was separated from the super-continent Gondwanaland when it moved south with a rising sea level. The species that had by then moved to Australia found themselves isolated from the rest of the Continent and started to develop their own specific features. Liberated from their predator enemies, many species spread quickly across the Continent only to get further cut off in places like Tasmania while the sea level kept rising.

Cash crop

DairyMilk production is an important economic factor, ranking in fourth position after the production of wheat, wool and beef. Revenues from milk sales for the overall farming sector was approx. $3.1 billion, and from all dairy plants approx. $7 billion. Around 45% of Australian milk-production is exported after processing. Of this export volume, approx. 80% goes to Asia and the Middle East.The Australian climate is very suitable for dairy farming as it allows cows to graze all year long. Maize, silage grass, hay, and cereals are used as supplementary feed throughout the year or only during certain seasons, depending on farming methods and regions. Accommodation is usually restricted to a milking parlour. A feeding passage or feeding place is used at some farms when a lot of silage or other products are used as supplementary feed during the wet months or at very large dairy farms. The growth of grass generally depends on natural rainfall, with the exception of several dry-land areas that are partially or fully irrigated during spring and summertime. The price of prime lands with gross dry-matter yields of 10,000 to 18,000 kg/ha ranges from $6,200 to $10,000 per hectare. Prices for drier inland lots, with dry-matter yields of 4,000 to 10,000 kg/ha, range from $ 1,750 to $ 6,000 per hectare.The variable costs of milk production are at the same level as in New Zealand, so they are well below the cost-level of most leading milk-producing countries. In most States, calving patterns and milk production are still more or less seasonal. Milk quotas have been abolished as from 1 July 2000. The cost price per litre of milk, including all additional variable costs, is 16 - 25 dollar cents. The purchase price of fertilisers and concentrate feed are subject to market fluctuations. Due to lower land prices, the overhead costs of producing one kg of dry matter are much lower than in Europe.

SheepDuring the nineties, the Australian sheep industry has gone through difficult times due to low wool prices. In the fifties and sixties, there were up to 170 million sheep in Australia. Since the severe drought of 1982, these numbers have declined drastically. In those days, the cost of transport were sometimes higher than market prices! In the nineties, after a significant increase of the sheep herd, meat prices were relatively low and wool prices were very low. This has stopped further increases to previous high levels, and more land is now used for beef cattle, dairy cattle, and arable farming. Due to growing world consumption of sheep meat, increasing exports from Australia, and relatively low quantities of sheep, meat prices are very good. At present, there are about 98 million sheep. For the past two years, meat prices of sheep have been very good, wool prices have been stable, and sheep numbers have to be supplemented. All this makes for excellent prospects. 

Beef The Australian beef-cattle industry has gone through major changes during the past twenty years. Many European breeds have been introduced because of their high quality of beef and have been Cross-bred with breeds like British Hereford and Aberdeen Angus. Many Asian breeds have also been imported into the more tropical environments on account of their resistance to high temperatures, humidity, and tick diseases. Angus and Angus crosses are very popular for the production of export meat to Japan and Asia. A lot of cattle are finished in feedlots on a ration of grain for a short period of time.
For some decades, meat prices have tended to lag behind the costs and prices of land. Smaller beef-cattle operations (under 300 cows) are no longer viable due to the high costs of labour. Prospects for the industry are good, but production costs will have to be kept low by good management and the capacity to grow high quantities of grass. 

PigsIn the past thirty years, the Australian pig industry has witnessed a number of major changes. Since 1980, the number of pig farms has dropped from 20,000 to 3,000. The number of sows per farm is constantly increasing. For some years, pork exports have risen considerably to over $200 million per year. Exports are mainly to Singapore and other Asian countries. Australia has the great advantage of its close proximity to these markets, which enables it to supply refrigerated rather than frozen meat!.

ArableDue to its favourable climate, a great variety of crops may be cultivated in Australia. For one thing, Australia has almost all the arable and horticultural crops we are accustomed to. And in addition to these crops, many other crops may be grown in Australia, such as ground nuts, cotton, sorghum, pyrethrum, poppies, sunflowers, soybeans, etc. Queensland & North New South Wales: Dry-land: $1,000 - $ 4,500 ha.
Irrigated inland areas: $3,750 - $ 5,500 ha.
Irrigated coastal areas: $7,000 - $15,000 ha.
New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, West Australia: Dry-land: $ 300 - $ 4,000 ha.
Irrigated inland areas: $4,000 - $ 5,500 ha.
Irrigated coastal areas: $7,000 - $12,500 ha. 
Tasmania: Dry-land: $1,750 - $ 5,000 ha.
Irrigation: $7,500 - $ 12,500 ha.

Marker gardeningMarket-gardening and vegetable-growing have traditionally been located near population centres. Land prices in these locations have now become so high that more and more of this type of cultivation has moved inland. Potatoes, onions, and carrots are increasingly grown on sandy soils with irrigation. A cleaner and washed product is more attractive to modern consumers. Supermarkets and packing houses also have a big say in Australia. Onion exports to Europe and Asia are considerable, and the demand for exports to Asia is growing. 

Fruit-and nut- growing sectorDue to the diversity of climates and soil types, practically all fruits can be cultivated in Australia. Fruit-growing is traditionally located in the coastal areas. Larger and new operations are now located more inland. There are large-scale exports of mangoes, avocadoes, bananas, apples, and nuts to Europe and Asia. 

Australia has the advantage of a 6-month difference between seasons with Europe. By using faster means of transport, bridging the gap with these markets with fresh products has become less difficult. The opportunities for this type of industry are very good indeed. Most operations have several crops in their cropping plan. 

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

Canada was originally a real emigrant country. We see within the agricultural sector, a large variety of emigrants as an entrepreneur successful in Canada. For dairy and poultry farming, there is worked within a protected market of quotas and guaranteed selling prices. On arable farming we see entrepreneurs invest in major grain companies on the prairies while another group bets on potatoes, beets etc. in intensive areas with possible irrigation. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for agariers and gardeners working in other disciplines.

General

After the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, Canada has become the world’s largest country. It extends from the Northern Ice Sea, to the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific. Its total area is 9,970,610 square kilometres. The maximum distance from east to west is 5,500 km. And the 

longest north-south distance is 4,600 km. It is a country with a great variety of natural beauty. You will find mountains there (the Rocky Mountains), as well as lakes, rivers, vast prairies and forests. This greatly affects weather
conditions, and there are consequently great climatologic differences in Canada. Due to its many different climates, Canada’s flora and fauna is of unparalleled richness. Canada consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories. The country is a member of the British Commonwealth, and though the Queen of England is its formal head of state, it is in practice an independent nation in practice. Provincial governments assist the Federal Government of Canada and are mainly concerned with matters directly affecting their own population. Provincial authorities are in charge of income taxes of individual persons and companies, as well as of provincial sales taxes and land-transfer taxes.The majority of Canada's approx. 33 million inhabitants live near the southern border. This is also where the principal Canadian cities are such as: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa (capital city). 70% of the Canadian population live in urban centres. The Canadian population is a mix of various nationalities as a result of the influx of a large number of immigrants. Of the Canadian population, 50% originate from Western Europe. The indigenous Canadians are the (First Nations) Indians and the Inuit. There are strong parallels between Canadian and American society regarding clothes, food, housing, and cultural manifestations; and partly because of the fact that the Canadian economy is rather dependant on the United States (U.S.), “Americanization” is still increasing. Yet, there are also important differences. For one thing, Canada is a much more socially-minded country that the U.S., where privacy and private initiative are so highly regarded that a large part of the population has hardly any access to the “American dream”. Canada is different; as a result of government
interference, it has a good social security system without the kind of impoverished circumstances and harsh contrasts between rich and poor that exist in the U.S.

Social Services

Canada, too, has a social security system jointly funded by employees and employers (each a 50% share). In general, benefits are lower.
• Family Allowance
Those entitled are Canadian residents with children under eighteen in their own care. In Alberta and Quebec, child benefits are age-dependent. In Quebec, the benefits are taxable income.
• Unemployment Insurance
Those entitled are people who have worked for over 15 hours per week and are below the age of 65. The duration of the benefit depends on the individual’s employment history and on regional unemployment rates, though there is a maximum of 70 weeks. The benefit is 60% of the average
last-earned income. This benefit may also be granted in the vent of long-term illness, pregnancy, the period after childbirth, or a training-course subject to an unemployment project.
• Old-age pension
Every 65-year-old resident who has lived in Canada for at least 10 years prior to his pension application is entitled to an old-age pension.
This benefit is not dependent on income or employment history.
The maximum amount is $658 (2010) for a single person or somebody whose partner is under 65, and $1,092 (2010) for a married couple if both spouses are 65 or older.
• Employee insurance schemes (Canada Pension Plan)
These may be subdivided into:
- Old-age pension. The contributions are 4.6% and are jointly paid by the employee and the employer on a fifty-fifty basis. Self-employed persons pay the full contribution of 4.6%.
- Occupational disability. This scheme stipulates that you have paid contributions in at least two out of the last three years, or five out of the last 10 years.
- Surviving dependant’s pension. This pension is intended for the partner of the deceased contribution payer. It stipulates that you have paid contributions for at least three years.

All residents in Canada are automatically insured against health costs. These costs exclude the costs for ambulance transport, medicines, dental care, glasses, and contact lenses, for which it makes sense to take out a supplementary insurance policy. Health care is funded from federal and provincial taxes. Only in British Columbia and Alberta, everybody is obliged to pay for supplementary insurance. The package offered is fairly comprehensive, and with regard to matters not covered by it, people can take out a supplementary insurance policy. Every resident is insured, but new residents will have to register with the Provincial Healthcare Office immediately on arrival. After registration, immigrants will be insured straight away, except in the Provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, and British Columbia. In these provinces, there is a 3-month waiting-time.

Canada had full religious freedom. The three main religious denominations are: the Roman Catholic Church, to which about 45% of the population belongs, the United Church of Canada, with 18% of the overall population the largest Protestant denomination, and the Anglican Church of Canada,
with about 12% of the population. There are several other religious denominations as well.

The Canadian school-system, as are the curricula, is geared to the (North American) continent. After “elementary school”, everybody goes to “high school”, which in turn is subdivided into “junior
high” (ages 12 to 15) and “senior high” (ages 15 to 18). Year-groups (classes) are numbered consecutively throughout. So, a grade-11 student is in the second year of “senior high”. At high school you can choose from various programmes. An “academic course” gives access to college or
university. At school, there is a lot of focus on sports. After high school, you can try and find a job, or you go to college or university. Obviously, in rural areas, the school is situated in the centre of the community. And its students will come from far and wide. Students need school transport, and the authorities provide for that. At 8am, the school bus arrives. The bus drives from one farm or home to the next and picks up all school-going children – from kindergarten to high school. At about 3 or 4pm, the bus takes the children home again. Publicly maintained primary and secondary education is generally free. In most provinces, people have to pay for their private education.

Climate

Canada has 6 different climate areas: Yukon, North-West Territory, Nunavut :These areas, together with the northern parts of the Prairie Provinces and the north of Ontario and Quebec, have an Arctic climate with winter temperatures down to 50 or 60 degrees below zero (centigrade), and with summer temperatures (for a few months) not rising above 10 degrees. British Columbia: Climatologically, this area bears the closest resemblance to the climate in Great Britain. The coastal area of this area has the mildest winters in the whole of Canada. Due to air blown in from the Pacific and forced up against the Rockies, British Columbia has high levels of precipitation (between 100 and 140 cm per annum), most of which falls in spring and winter. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba :These provinces are characterised by a typically continental climate: severe winters and warm summers. The fairly limited amount of precipitation mainly falls during the growing-season, which is favourable to crops. The spring season starts late because of the frequent occurrence of night frost. A common prairie phenomenon, especially in Southern Alberta, is the Chinook: a dry, warm, westerly wind that may cause temperature fluctuations of up to 25 degrees (centigrade) in a matter of hours. Ontario, Quebec: Due to warm-air concentrations transported in from the Mexican Gulf, the southern parts of these provinces may have oppressive summers. Autumns tend to be enjoyable, partly because of the beautiful colouring of the trees (Indian Summer). In winter, the north-western part of these provinces has cold air blown in from the prairies and the Hudson Bay. Hence, winters will be quite long, with lots of snowfall. Summers are generally fairly warm. Precipitation is evenly distributed over the seasons. Especially in the south of Ontario, the climate is such that practically all crops can be cultivated there. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia: Though these areas are situated along the Atlantic Ocean, the climate is continental rather than maritime. This is caused by the prevailing north-easterly winds carrying cold air from the Arctic. The area is characterised by a fair amount of fog, rain, and gale winds. Prince Edward Island :End of May, early June is when Prince Edward Island is full of colour, while temperatures may vary between 8 and 22 degrees. Summers are warm, though rarely humid. Day temperatures are typically around 20 degrees, with top temperatures of up to 32 degrees. The autumn weather is nice and bright. The end of September may still be warm, but the evenings are cooler. Temperatures then vary between 8 and 22 degrees. Winters are chilly but bright. Winter temperatures fluctuate between -3 and -11 degrees.

Cash crop

The agricultural area of Canada is 730,000 km2, which is nearly 8% of its total area. Approx. 400,000 km2 of this is intensively cultivated. The rest is grassland of highly variable quality. The types of soil are: clay, clay-loam, sand, and sandy loam. Large tracts of land have a fair quantity of stones on them, which makes their cultivation considerably more difficult. The countryside varies from practically flat to very hilly. Moreover, there are parts that can not be fully cultivated due to the presence of woodland areas or of low, wet, and boggy sites. The division of land varies from area to area. In the “older” areas (Eastern Canada and British Columbia), land divisions are fairly arbitrary, and farms come in all sizes. Land prices are expressed in dollars per hectare. In the “newer areas”, the Prairie Provinces, all roads as well as the streets in towns, run from north to south and, at a right angle to these, from east to west. In the rural areas, you will find a road at every mile, and the parcels of land enclosed by these roads, i.e. one square mile each, are called “sections”. These sections may in turn be divided into four “quarters” (each approx. 64 ha.), which are generally the smallest units to be bought. The qualification-system of the Canada Land Inventory (C.L.I.) describes the quality of farm-lands on the basis of seven classes. Land-classes 1 to 3 (large parts of the Prairie Provinces and Ontario) are used for arable farming; land-classes 4 and 5 tend to be used for livestock, while land-classes 6 and 7 are not suitable for agricultural purposes.

Dairy: In Canada, there are currently approx. 16,970 dairy farms in all. That is a relatively low number. It shows that there is much more space in Canada for operating a dairy farm. On average, there are 72 dairy cows per farm in Canada. The dairy market in Canada is divided into a market for liquid milk (i.e. drinking milk) and industrial milk. Industrial milk is for the production of cheese, butter, yoghurt, etc. Of all the milk produced in Canada, 33% is liquid milk, 60% industrial milk, and 7% is used as livestock feed. For each province, percentages may vary strongly, though. For instance, 17% of total milk production on Prince Edward Island, and 62 % in New Brunswick, is intended as liquid milk. Market regulation for industrial milk takes place nationally, while market regulation for liquid milk
is a provincial affair. Milk quotas in Canada are freely marketable and therefore not tied to land. In general, the transaction is made as follows: dairy farmers wishing to sell quota submit a quantity of “fluid milk”
or “MSQ” to the Milk Marketing Board at a minimum asking price. The sale will proceed if the set indicative price equals or exceeds the asking price.
The reverse applies for buyers of quotas. They register a quantity of milk at a maximum bid price. The sale will only proceed if the established indicative price equals or is below the bid price.

Arable:
The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been divided into five soil zones:
brown, dark brown, black, dark gray, and gray.
The types of soil may be characterised as follows.
• On brown soil, you will find a large variety of crops and yields. This soil is more susceptible to drought.
• In areas with black soil, average precipitation levels are higher and the soil
is better capable of retaining moisture. Hence, the yields are higher and the soil is rarely susceptible to drought.
• Gray soil can be found in the northern areas of the three provinces. This soil is characterised by more precipitation, colder temperatures, and a shorter growing season. The principal crops of Western Canada are: wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape, and Timothy hay. In addition, lentils, peas, potatoes, and sugar beets are grown there.

Brown soil can be found in the semi-dry areas of south-eastern Alberta (Medicine Hat, Brooks, Oyen). Annual precipitation is approximately 300 mm. Grain production in this area is mostly limited due to soil humidity. Besides, wind erosion can be a big problem in this area as well. Land prices are approximately $700-$1000 per acre. Dark-brown soil (Lethbridge, Calgary, Stettler, Vermillion) has an average annual precipitation level of approx. 350 mm. Land prices here are approx. $1500-$2000 per acre.In the black-soil areas, soil humidity and precipitation levels in summer greatly affect crop yields. Black soil is located in a zone between Calgary and north of Edmonton. Annual precipitation levels in this area are between 450 mm and 600 mm. Land prices vary from $2000 and $3500 per acre.
Gray soil is in central Alberta at the foot of the Rocky Mountains (Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, Breton, Edson, Barrhead and Westlock) and in the Peace River area. Precipitation in this area is less restrictive than in other parts of Alberta, but the growing season is shorter. Annual precipitation in
this area often exceeds 600 mm. Land prices in this area are around $1200-$2000 per acre.There are 13 irrigation districts in Alberta.

Approximately 1,300,000 acres are irrigated in Southern Alberta. This is 5% of all of Alberta’s farm lands, as against 12% of the total agricultural production of Alberta consisting of irrigated crops. Irrigation also sets the right conditions for growing a greater variety of crops. Irrigated lands in this area cost $3,000-$5,000 per acre.

Land prices in Saskatchewan are between $500-$2,000 per acre. In the south-west of Saskatchewan, you will find brown soil. This area is similar to the area in south-western Alberta. Land prices in the area around the town of Outlook are around $2,000 per acre, including irrigation. Dark brown soil covers the area between Saskatoon and Regina. The Regina Plains is an area with heavy clay soil. Surrounding the town of Melfort, you will find black soil. This area is characterised by an average annual precipitation of 650 mm. Land prices in the area are between $1200 and $1500 per acre.

Of the total agricultural area in Manitoba (19 million acres), 11.8 million is cultivated for arable farming. The average size of the farms is 785 acres. The main part of the agricultural area is in the
black-soil zone. East of the capital city of Winnipeg, you will find good arable lands. In this area, there are also two potato factories, in Purtase and Carman. Land prices, including irrigation, are between $ 2500 and $3500 per acre here. South of Winnipeg the land prices are between $1500 and $2000. When you go a little more to the west in Manitoba, you tend
to find more stones in the soil.

Ontario:In the south the soil consists of Fox sandy loam on which a great variety of crops is grown, including tomatoes, maize and vegetables, fruit orchards, grapes, and field crops for seed production, i.e. seed maize on
a contract basis for seed operations. In the Learnington surroundings, there are many hothouses for tomatoes, cucumbers, and flowers. Land is expensive here at approx. $11,000 per acre (1 acre = 4047 m²).
In Essex County, there is a clay area stretching along the north- and south shores of the lakes. Lighter soil is sold at approx. $4,000 - $5,000 per acre. Clay at approx. $3,500 per acre. The soil in Kent County consists of sand, sandy-loam, and clay-loam. This is used for growing beans,
wheat, seed maize, and tomatoes. The Heinz plant is very popular in Learnington. Huron and Perth Counties are good farming areas with 2700-2900 H.U. These are regions with a lot of livestock farming, as well as soy beans, white beans, cereals, maize, wheat, and small grain crops (oats, barley, and canola). In addition, you will find pig-, dairy-, and poultry-farming there. The region has good soil, including areas with clay-loam, Perth clay, Huron clay, as well as loam. Land prices are $5,000 - $6,000 per acre, and in some areas even $8,000 per acre.

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

The investment climate for foreigners in the Czech Republic is quite liberal. Foreigners, both natural persons and legal entities be may co-owner of Czech legal entities. To undertake as a natural person as a foreigner apply basically the same conditions as for Czechs. Access to certain professions, like that of auditor, however, is subject to certain conditions which foreigners can not be met easily. With regard to direct investments in real estate, the situation is different. Individuals can, in principle, acquire special exceptions, not located in the Czech Republic property. However, it is possible to obtain real estate in an indirect manner, for example by setting up a sro (= BV) who acquires the property. Between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic is an investment protection agreement. This agreement aims to promote investments of the two countries in each other's territory. The agreement regulates purpose the protection of investments and investors. Thus, among other things states that investments full security and protection in the other country are granted. By the participating country It must in any case no less than the security and protection afforded to investors from their own country.

General

The Czech Republic is bordered by two mountain ranges, the Hercynian and the Alpine-Himalayan. As a result of this, the country has a diverse countryside. The western and central parts of the country consist of undulating highlands (Ceska vysocina) and low mountainous areas (Sumava, Cesky les, Krusne hory, Orlicke hory and Jeseniky). The Zapadni Karpaty Mountains are in the eastern part of the country. The Czech Republic is also known as the roof of Europe because its only source of water is rain and snowfall. All rivers originating from this area flow out into the surrounding countries. The Republic has three rivers, viz. the Elba (flowing out into the North Sea), the Oder (flowing out into the Baltic Sea) and the Danube (flowing out into the Black Sea).
There are 455 natural lakes, 350 of which are “river lakes”, which have been formed on grasslands adjoining the large rivers. A typical feature of the Czech countryside is the large number of artificial lakes, which have been laid out for breeding fish. In total, there are some 21,800 artificial lakes of this kind, covering a total area of 41,000 hectares. The two main ones are Lake Rozmberk and Lake Bezdrev in southern Bohemia. According to the 2006 census, the Czech Republic has 10.3 million inhabitants (131 people per km²), of which half are male and half are women. Three quarters of the population live in urban areas. Until 1994, the number of people living in the Czech Republic was stable, and since then the number has been decreasing. It is expected that the number will be around 10 million in 2020.

Social Services

The Czech social security system (including compulsory national health insurance) is largely similar in structure to other E.U. countries. Czech employees working for a Czech employer contribute part of their salary towards covering their social security benefits; this contribution reduces their income-tax base. The employer also pays a contribution; this contribution is tax-deductible for the employer. The Czech Republic has the following taxes: 1. income- and corporation tax; 2. sales tax; 3. excise; 4. road tax; 5. transfer tax (for real estate); 6. gift tax; inheritance tax and transfer tax; Tax rates vary from 15% to 40%. The latter rate applies to taxable incomes higher than CZK 822,600. For certain types of income from Czech sources, taxes are raised at source, and this also determines the final tax assessment. Dividends, for instance, are subject to a 25% tax rate. The sales-tax system is largely based on the system that applies in EU countries. Though the current Czech sales-tax system resembles other EU countries system, there are a quite a few differences. There are two sales-tax rates: the general rate of 22% for most goods and a reduced rate of 5% for most services. With a few exceptions, foodstuffs are taxed at 5%. Of the services that are taxed at 22%, we can mention: hospitality- and advertising services, rental of some movable goods, and services provided by representatives, brokers, and agents.

Climate

The climate of the Czech Republic is influenced by the interaction between maritime and continental climates. Westerly winds prevail, while air masses are regularly set in motion by intensive cyclone-like activity causing considerable rainfall. The effect of the maritime climate is mainly felt in Bohemia, while the continental climate has a greater impact on Moravia and Silesia. Altitudes and relief also greatly affect the climate. 52,817 km² (66.97%) of the Czech countryside is at an altitude of 500 metres, 25,222 km² (31.68%) lies at altitudes from 500 to 1000 metres, and only 827 km² is at 1000 metres above sea level. On average, the Republic lies at an altitude of 430 metres above sea level. The Czech Republic has mild summers and winters, with moderate rainfall. Average annual temperatures are between 6.6 °C (in Mariánské Lázně) and 9.7 ºC (in Prague); average annual rainfall in these areas is, respectively, 690 and 491 mm.

Cash crop

The share in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the primary sector (including forestry and fisheries) fell from 3.9 percent in 2000 to 2.4 percent in 2007. According to the latest figures, there were 1,583 agricultural cooperatives and 4,428 commercial farming operations active in 2006. Before the Republic’s accession to the EU in 2004, the number of commercial farming operations was 2,069. So this number has doubled. To all probability, this is due to farmers becoming eligible for CAP subsidies. In the period of 1990-2006, employment in the agricultural sector decreased by 60%. Currently, about 3.5 percent of the workforce works in the agricultural sector. Of all sectors, the cattle sector has decreased most. In the period of 1990-2006, the number of cattle fell from 3.4 million to 1.4 million. The total area of cultivated lands did not decrease much due to increased cultivation of rapeseed, sunflowers, and poppy. These crops are used for the production of bio-energy. (Source: EVD.) The total area of farmland is stable and amounts to 4.3 million hectares. Most cultivated land is used as arable land. In arable farming, the staple crops are grain, oilseed, potatoes, and sugar beets. In the Czech Republic, there are many good soils suitable for agriculture. These soils allow for the cultivation of a wide range of crops. Quality-wise, the black soils and brown soils are best. As mentioned before in this chapter, the Czech Republic has different kinds of farm land. The differences in crop conditions are easy to see during the growing-season. This is due to the type of soil, quality, and different altitudes in the countryside. Another factor that often applies is the use of artificial fertilizers and crop-protection agents and, to a lesser degree, the availability of expertise. Hence the working-capital of a farm plays a part in the yield of its crops. In the table below, the average yields of various crops are roughly represented. Note that there is a great diversity of soil types. Crop Average yield per hectare (tonnes/ha) Beets 40 Potatoes 20 Wheat (Moravia) 8 Wheat (Bohemia) 6 Maize 35 As is shown, the tonnage of beets and potatoes falls somewhat behind if compared with the U.K. With regard to wheat, good yields are realized with a small amount of artificial fertilizers (100 kg of pure nitrogen). A significant effect is shown with regard to the yields in Moravia and Bohemia. The difference is mainly due to the better average quality of soils in Moravia. With regard to maize, too, yields vary from area to area. 

For many companies Denmark offers good opportunities, because of the lower investment cost, extensibility, good social system and the convenient distance to the Netherlands. For entrepreneurs with a relatively small capital, there are opportunities to start a farm in Denmark. Denmark is much less densely populated compared to the Netherlands. Due to highly developed economies of scale in recent years, Danish companies have pretty functional buildings and traditionally beautiful parceled plots.

General

Denmark is one of the oldest kingdoms in the world. Denmark consists of the large peninsula of Jutland and some large islands. The island of Fyn is connected with Jutland via a bridge. The island of Zealand is connected with Fyn by means of a tunnel and a bridge. In addition, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are part of the State of Denmark. The capital city of Copenhagen is situated on the island of Zealand. The only country border is the one with the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Recently, a bridge has been built between Denmark and Sweden.
Furthermore, Denmark is surrounded by the North Sea (on the west), the Kattegat between Jutland and Sweden, and the Sound between Zealand and Sweden.
The capital city of Copenhagen is situated by the sea, the Sound, and it has a population of approximately one and a half million. As a port, Copenhagen is the trade centre for i.a. industries, breweries (Carlsberg, Tuborg) and shipbuilding (Maersk).
Denmark has approximately 5.5 million inhabitants. This means that it has an average of 123 people per square kilometre. Over half the Danish population live on the islands east of Jutland, whereas a quarter of the population live in or around the capital city of Copenhagen. At present, over 80% of the population live in urban areas, and this number will further increase as a result of industrial growth.

Social Services

Social security contributions are paid through the tax system. As a result, no tuition fees, no contributions for national compulsory health insurance, and no old-age pension contributions need to be paid. Children in Denmark have to attend compulsory education between the ages of 7 and 16. From the age of three, they may go to a børnehave (a kind of pre-school/kindergarten), from the age of six they can go to the preparatory year for primary school. Most villages have a school. Primary school is attended for nine years, after which there is an optional tenth year, which is often attended at the principal town of the municipality. Most children (93%) go to the folke schools, which are free. According to the present Constitution, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church is the Danish folkekirken (= people’s church), and as such it is supported by the State. Approx. 95% of all Danes are members of the folkekirken. Apart from members of folkekirken, there are about 6500 Roman Catholics, 700 Reformed Protestants and 6500 Baptists in Denmark. These churches are recognized by the Danish State.

Climate

Denmark has a maritime climate. Average annual precipitation is around 664 mm, half of which falls between July and October. The wettest month is August at 81 mm; the driest month is February with an average rainfall of 39 mm. In summer, occasional stormy winds from the west bring some cool weather. Winters are temperate due to a westerly gulf stream that tempers the cold. The Danish weather is changeable but never extreme. April and May are mild. In general, the months of June, July and August are warm (16.6 °C on average). A typical Danish summer has alternating periods of rain and sun. The spring months are pleasant, but cooler. The winter months are cool and sometimes cold, while light snowfall is normal. February is the coldest month of the year at an average temperature of -0.4°C.

Cash crop

Denmark produces food for approximately 15 million people (three times the Danish demand), two-thirds of which are exported. Despite the important part played by agriculture in Denmark, only 96,000 people, i.e. 3% of Demark’s total workforce, work in agriculture. Denmark has about 42,000 farming operations; as recently as 1950 this figure stood at 200,000. During the last decade, the average size of farming operations has increased from 21 to 65 ha. The average age of the Danish farmer is 52. Dairy farming Denmark is a dairy country that exports many dairy products. The national milk quota is 4.6 billion kg . A large share of its exports goes to the EU (Germany 20%, Great Britain 15%). All dairy farmers can buy quotas at the quota exchange. There are four trading-rounds at the exchange each year. The price is set on the basis of the average of amounts of supply and demand. From all transactions, 1% is skimmed off for the benefit of start-up farmers. All transactions conducted outside the exchange system get deducted by 50%. To prevent overproduction of manure in concentration areas, Danish agriculture has a system whereby there has to be a balance between the number of animals at a farm and the number of hectares. In this regard, a distinction is made between the different kinds of animals, the quantity of animals, and the number of hectares owned. Of the requisite amount of land, 30% must be freehold. The surplus amount of manure can be disposed of through leases or manure disposal arrangements. All livestock farmers must submit a cropping plan to the plantdirektorat. This includes a specification of crops for each parcel of land and the fertilization plan involved. The farmers’ association then calculates the permitted amount of artificial fertilizers to be spread, taking into account a useful nitrogen content of 45% from liquid manure. In the months of October through January, there is a ban on the disposal and application of manure. The storage capacity of manure for existing farms extends over a period of 7 months, and, for new farms, 9 months. In Denmark, farms are traditionally built on the attached land-parcels so that most of the “original” lands lie around the buildings. Historically, Danes are arable farmers who began keeping livestock to eat their crops and use their straw. There is still a lot of arable farming in Denmark, so you can see a great many cereal crops there. Maize is grown in Denmark. Soil types vary from light sandy soil to clay soil. The lighter sandy soils generally have to be irrigated in the period of July/August, because these months are often hot and dry.

General

Social Services

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France is a "farmer-friendly" because they want to keep the viability of rural high. For the dairy industry, there are good opportunities for family farms, particularly in the areas of Normandy and Brittany, especially mild climate with sufficient rainfall is ideal for dairy farming. North of the Paris and just below the city of Paris are beautiful arable areas with large lots. Slightly more central are also areas with good grain companies. France is quite bureaucratic, so during the purchase there are several agencies to be final for the purchase consulted. Also, there is not free marketing of milk, quota limits the growth opportunities even at this time.

General

At a total area of 551,700 km², France is the largest country in Western Europe. The country is 13.5 times the size of the Netherlands. The Channel, Belgium and Luxembourg form the northern border of France. In the east, the country borders on Germany and Switzerland, and, in the south, on Italy, the Mediterranean, Spain, and Andorra. The western frontier is formed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Topographically, France is very diverse. Nearly two-thirds of its surface consists of undulating and hilly lowlands. France has a population of 60.8 million (2008). The average population density in France is 111 inhabitants per km².  In this regard, there are great regional differences in France. Paris, for instance, has over 20,000 inhabitants per km², whereas the Province of Gard only has 91 inhabitants per km². Ile-de-France and Nord-Pas-de-Calais are the only regions with an average population density of more than 200 per km². Agriculture plays a more important part here than in the economies of most other industrial countries, which is partly on account of the relatively low population density and the importance attached to the countryside as a reflection of the national identity. .. 

Social Services

The French social security system, based on the principle of sharing, was introduced in 1945. Within the French social security system, a distinction can be made between the provisions made for employees and those for self-employed entrepreneurs. The general provisions for employees comprise plans for health insurance, occupational accidents and occupational illnesses, disability, pensions and death, unemployment benefits and family allowances. Every person who receives a salary is covered by the compulsory national health insurance plan and has a Numero de Securité Sociale, which is the same as our registration number. For self-employed entrepreneurs, there is a general health insurance plan, but the pension-, disability-, and surviving dependants’ insurance plans are provided for each occupational group individually. Self-employed entrepreneurs receive family allowances, as do employees, but they are not entitled to any unemployment benefits. The system applicable to self-employed entrepreneurs relies on the French State. For farmers, there is the M.S.A. (calculated on the basis of tax returns). Since 60 % of the workforce consists of women (during WW I, women became fully emancipated on the work floor), day-care facilities for children are well provided for. From the age of three, children can go to pre-school (la maternelle). Primary education (école primaire) begins for children at the age of six and ends at the age of eleven. After this, there is compulsory secondary education (école secondaire), which consists of a four-year programme. In 1905, the separation between church and state was established by law. Of the population, 64% are Roman Catholic. Protestantism has a following of 2%, and 6% are Muslims. The rest of the population do not belong to any church.

Climate

France has very diverse climate conditions, which are due to the diminishing influence of the Atlantic Ocean towards the east, the influence of the Mediterranean in the south-east, and the presence of mountains. Due to the seawater slowly warming up in springtime and its gradual cooling-down in autumn, temperatures along the coast tend to be significantly higher in autumn than in spring. Though the main part of France has a temperate climate, the recorded extremes of temperature are widely divergent. Most precipitation falls along the west coast, at many places exceeding 1000 mm per year, and reaching its peak in autumn. In the south-east of France, i.e. Avignon and Marseille, precipitation is lowest, at 600 mm per year. The amount of precipitation depends to a large extent on the presence of mountain ranges. Significant snowfall almost exclusively occurs in the mountains. Generally speaking, the number of hours of sunshine increases the closer one gets to the Mediterranean coastline, especially during the summer months. The wind is mainly westerly, but it also frequently blows from northerly directions. During northerly winds, mistrals will develop in the Rhone Valley. Other local winds are the föhn-like autan and the cold northerly bise.

Cash crop

Due to the different climate conditions, it is possible to cultivate a wide range of agricultural products. France has 320,000 km² of cultivated lands (± 60 % of its total area). This includes 41% of permanent grassland, and nearly 5% is covered with permanent crops such as fruit, olives, and vineyards.
Though the share of the agricultural sector in GDP (gross domestic product) may be falling, the influence of the sector on politics (for example, during GATT talks) remains proportionately great. After all, the economic well-being of entire provinces all depends on the ability to produce and process farming product on a profitable basis. Thus far, agricultural production has been mainly on a large-scale basis.

Dairy farming In France, most dairy farms are situated in Brittany and Normandy. Most operations there are run by full-time farmers. In 2007, France had 94,000 dairy farmers. The average size of these operations is 50 ha., with a milk quota of 250,000 kg. The dairy operations are mostly mixed. Maize is often grown for being used as roughage at the farm and it has a much bigger share than grass. Cereal crops are grown a lot because the straw is very useful for sunken stall barns, of which there are still many in France. The farms often have a spacious dwelling attached, in which several generations live together. The only machines present at the farm tend to be the ones that are often used. If a farmer wishes to use a machine that is relatively expensive, he/she may join a "C.U.M.A." (Coopération d'Utilisation Matérial Agricole). This is a farmers’ machinery syndicate to which everybody pays a share of the costs of the machines, in proportion to their number of hectares. French farmers’ quotas cannot be sold or bought freely, but are tied to the land. Every farmer knows that his/her quota has a value to other people, so that the price of land is sometimes raised when sold. In the event of a sale of a separate parcel of land, a skimming-percentage of 10% to 50% may apply on account of the quota, depending on the entrepreneur’s situation. The Provincial Milk Board (i.e. of a French departement) will decide on the eventual skimming-percentage. Since the climate in Brittany and Normandy is mild, livestock can be kept outdoors very longer. For cows to remain outdoors for a period of nine months is no exception.
Arable farming The most fertile farmlands can be found on the loam plateaus of the Basin of Paris and in the north (wheat, sugar beets, rapeseed, and flax). The Alsace, the main river valleys, and the irrigated tracts of land in the south are also rich farming areas. The cultivation of oats and barley is more scattered; these are staple crops not only in the above-mentioned areas but also in other parts of northern France. Maize is grown in Aquitaine and Languedoc. Market-gardening mainly occurs in the valleys of the Loire, Garonne, Rhone, and along the Mediterranean coast. The principal wine districts can be found along the banks of the Rhone, the Garonne and the Loire, on the slopes of Alsace, Champagne en France, and in the western Mediterranean area. Cultivated lands in Brittany and Normandy are of high quality, though very diverse. Some parcels contain a lot of stones, whereas not a stone may be found on other parcels. The area is relatively hilly, but this is not problematic for farming. It can produce beautiful vistas.
The price paid for a hectare of land depends on its quality, but for a good piece of land, it is roughly between EUR 4,000 and EUR 15,000. The lease-price of a hectare of land in France is between
EUR 150 and EUR 300

Germany offers good opportunities for family farms, but also excellent opportunities for large-scale farming enterprises. The structure of West Germany is similar to the Netherlands with the difference that the investments are quite a bit lower and the companies are in general more extensive than in the Netherlands. The social climate in West Germany is similar to the Netherlands, allowing rapid integration. In the eastern part of Germany, the social climate is also growing in the direction of the situation in the western part. The distance to the Netherlands is small, making it easy to maintain contacts. The east offers the best opportunities for the purchase of large-scale agricultural enterprises because of the structures that have arisen in the communist era still exist. This creates a large scale and a strong position in the European market and the future of the world. Other sectors also have a strong position, especially arable farming is a thriving and prosperous sector. Intensive farming is encouraged because this sector offers employment.

General

Germany has a population of 83 million. Its population density is 233 inhabitants per square kilometre. Germany is subdivided into 16 states, six of which are in East-Germany, i.e. Mecklenburg - Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony, and the city-state of Berlin. The following states are in the west: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Wurttemberg, and Bavaria.
Life expectancy of the German male is 74.5 years and of the female 80.9 years. The average female has 1.4 children. Germans see themselves as modest, simple and honest. They are not greedy and pay their bills in time. They consider themselves well-educated. Foreigners view Germans as efficient, conceited, arrogant and dominant, and good at business. Germans live their lives seriously; they go by the rules.This means that, for instance, you cannot simply change your job as an accountant for a job in the computer industry. Germans like efficiency, organization, discipline and accuracy, i.e. order. If a German does not agree with what you are saying, he will tell you. Other people’s feelings are not spared. Perfectionism is an important peculiarity of Germans. They also hold education and culture in high esteem.

Social Services

As of 3 October 1990, the social security laws of West Germany apply to the whole of Germany. Regarding health costs, reimbursements are made for medical care, medicines, hospital costs, maternity costs, and home care. The employer pays the national insurance contributions and sets them off against the employee’s income. On 1 January 1992, a compulsory pension insurance plan took effect in eastern Germany. The costs of this are shared by the employee and the employer. In Germany, farmers take part in three compulsory insurance plans, which will be described below. Health care The Krankenkasse is the insurance plan for health costs. Contributions are income-dependent. This basic insurance plan covers everything, such as doctor’s-, dentist’s-, and hospital costs. However, for medicines and special treatments, such as lenses or acupuncture, a personal contribution applies or a supplementary insurance policy can be taken out. Pension The Old-Age Pension plan is built up over the years, and this applies to both the farmer and the farmer’s wife. Contributions are income-dependent. The pensionable age is 67. Business insurance plan This insurance plan, a.k.a. Berufsgenossenschaft, is also compulsory for all farm operations in Germany. For this insurance plan, an annual amount has to be paid, depending on the size of the farm. Farm inspections can take place 1x each year. On these occasions, special attention is paid to safety and environmental measures. If certain matters are not in order, they will have to be repaired within two weeks. If this does not happen in time, a fine will be imposed. Once the farm has been approved, then everybody present at the farm, both the family and their visitors, are insured against accidents and/or damage. Child benefit plan Child benefits take effect at the time when the first child is born. Child benefits are paid each month.

Climate

The German climate is characterized by moderate westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Extreme weather conditions or large fluctuations in temperature do not occur. Germany’s temperate climate is therefore defined as a maritime climate. In the east, the climate somewhat resembles a continental climate, yet maritime climate features prevail. In the north, Sauerland, Rhineland-Palatinate and the Harz are wet regions with approximately 1400 millimetres of rainfall. The east of Germany is considerably drier. In Berlin, annual rainfall is 591 millimetres and in Magdeburg 513 millimetres. Elsewhere in the country, there is between 600 and 800 millimetres of rainfall.

Cash crop

In Germany, there is plenty of fertile soil. Due to its good climate, the country is suitable for agriculture. The agricultural sector supplies about two thirds of the German demand for food. The cultivated crops are mainly potatoes, rye, rapeseed, sugar beets, wheat, cabbage, and grapes. German wines and beers are popular. They are exported to countries all over the world. In the northern part of West-Germany, land can still be purchased at an acceptable price. Some guidelines:
Northern pasture lands:
Grassland on peaty soil EUR 8,000 – 10,000 per ha.; grassland on clay EUR 9,000 – 12,000 per ha.; grassland on sandy soil EUR 10,000 – 15,000 per ha.; arable land EUR 10,000 – 17,000 per ha.; leasehold land EUR 225 – 400 per ha. Land at Emsland/ Osnabrück sells for EUR 12,000 – 20,000 per ha. and can be leased for EUR 300 – 500 per ha. In Rhineland-Palatinate, land prices are between EUR 6,000 – 10,000 per ha., and prices for lease-land are EUR 60 - 150 per ha.
In the east, prices in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are EUR 6,000 – 10,000 per ha. In the Magdeburger Börde prices are EUR 10,000 – 18,000 per ha.

Milk quota
Milk quotas are issued on personal/farm-related title, but they can be sold. Three times a year, on 1 April, 1 July, and 30 October, milk quotas are sold and bought on the exchange.
One month in advance, a request for sale or purchase must be submitted. This system was introduced on 1 April 2001. Since then, the possibility of obtaining new lease-contracts has been abolished. However, lease-contracts can be transferred when a farm is taken over in its entirety. Details of the milk-quota exchanges may be found in the Archiv on the Internet site: www.bauernverband.de

Hungary is a unitary parliamentary republic in Central Europe. It covers an area of 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi), situated in the Carpathian Basin and bordered by Slovakia to the north, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west, Austria to the northwest, and Ukraine to the northeast. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is one of the most populous state in Central and Eastern Europe and medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken uralic language in the world.[9] Hungary's capital and largest metropolis is Budapest, a significant economic hub, classified as an Alpha- global city.[10] Major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Gy?r.

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

General

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Climate

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General

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Cash crop

New Zealand is an agricultural country. The agricultural sector accounts for 50% of total exports, divided in 21% milk and 13% meat products. 90% of milk production is exported. This makes New Zealand for many years the world's largest exporter of dairy products and is a leader in beef production. The growing of fruit and vegetables also plays an important role in the agricultural industry in New Zealand. One can produce here at low cost and that obviously applies to a family business as a large-scale company. The low production costs caused by cheap land and the favorable climate. The dairy industry is not as developed as in Europe, by which one can generate very good performances with knowledge of modern management.

General

Life in New Zealand is easier and more pleasant than in the Netherlands. The pace is slower than in the Netherlands and life is clearly on sports and outdoor activity oriented. Many practiced sports are fishing, diving, rugby, golf, cricket, sailing, equestrian and water skiing. New Zealand is an immigration country where 30% of the people who live there are not born in New Zealand. For several decades, new residents have been comiong to the country to built a new social life. The result is a society that is open to new contacts, where you feel welcome and where they are helpful in building new social circle. The Dutchman is known as sober and hardworking and can count on sympathy and respect. Across New Zealand, Dutch associations can be found. The country consists of two main islands, the North and the South Island, and in addition about 700 smaller islands. It has a population of slightly more than 4 million residents, while it is 6.5x as large as the Netherlands.

Social Services

Education
For kids starting at the age of 6 weeks, childcare is available. Most kindys are privately owned. As there are rather strict regulations the quality of the kindys is very good. There is a broad offering without waiting lists and the prices are relatively low. For children between 5 and 15 years old, education is compulsory. The public primary and secondary schools are free of charge. Primary schools can be found in even the most remote areas and kids can use school buses to get there. Primary education starts at the age of 5 and takes 6 years. Secondary education is offered at different levels and after that there is a wide choice for tertiary education in mainly every bigger town. On top of that there are 8 university spread over the country.

Healthcare
The healthcare system can be divided in a public and a private part. The public sector is financed by the government and for most medical services only a fraction of the actual cost have to be paid. This includes hospitals and prime care. There may however be waiting lists for hospital treatments. For services of a GP and dentists one has to pay, however for children up to 16 years of age, medications and dental services are free of charge It is advisable to take an insurance for treatments in private hospitals. There is a wide variety and the cost is approx. ₤ 30 p.p.p.m.

Taxation
The tax system in New Zealand is rather simple with 3 tax levels, being 19,5%, 33% en 39%. With income levels under $40.000, between $ 40.000 and $70.000 and more than $70.000. Apart of income tax, corporate income tax, tax on real estate and VAT, there are no other taxations. The VAT, which is here called GST, is 12,5%. There is no wealth taxation, no tax on property gains nor inheritance taxation.

Climate

The North of the North Island enjoys a subtropical climate with average temperatures of between 15° C in winter and 25° C in summer. The rest of the country has a mild climate with temperatures equal to those in Great Britain. The mere part of the North Island has yearly more than 2.000 hours of sun whereas the South Island has approx. 1.700 hours. In Scotland this is roughly 1.400 hours. Although New Zealand is a group of islands, its 1500mm of rain is less than the average rainfall in Scotland which is about 1900mm per year. The rainfall in New Zealand has an even spread over the year which is good for the farmers.

Cash crop

Agriculture in New Zealand
About 50% of the Total New Zealand export consists of Agricultural products. The most important ones are milk products, meat and meat products, wool, paper and paper pulp and skins/leather. The dairy sector is the most important Agricultural sector. The dairy farms and the more intensive managed sheep and beef farms are located predominantly on the North Island.
1. 
The mere part of the beef production is being exported with a value of NZ $3 billion. Cattle is grazing all year round and following the season, the amount of animals fluctuates. This prohibits a constant production level which is a set back in exports. 50% of the beef production is exported to the USA and 30% to Asia.
2. Sheep farming
This is a declining business. In numbers: in 1990 there were 55 million sheep, last year only 35 million were left. This is due to the lower revenue relative to the dairy sector. The production over 2008 was NZ $3 billion. Most farms run cattle next to the sheep in order to optimize the usage of the farm. More and more farmers also have either deer or grow crops in order to minimize risk and have more stable income.
New Zealand is one of the greater exporters worldwide of lam- and sheep meat. The extensive sheep keeping in the highlands is mainly for wool production.
3. 
The deer industry is growing steadily and has doubled over the last 10 years. Deer are often bred next to cattle and sheep. On 2.300 farms deer represents 50% of the income. Canterbury, Southland and Otago are the main areas for the deer industry. Hormones and growth stimuli are hardly used in New Zealand. 80% of the production is being exported to Europe, of which half to Germany.
4. Arable
The arable production New Zealand is growing constantly, changing the sector from self sufficient for the country into an important export sector. Most important products are grain, potatoes and unions. The “kumara”, a sweet potato that grows only on the North Island, is a very important product. On the South Island the Canterbury Plains are very fertile and perfect for arable production.
5. 
New Zealand is an important player in the international fruit World. The fact its seasons are opposite to those in Europe play an important role as Europe is the main market.Most exported products are kiwi’s, passion fruits, apples and peers. Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty are the key fruit areas.
Dairy farms
Typical for dairy farming in New Zealand is the low cost price of the milk. The reasons for this are the mild climate, enabling the cows to graze all year round and expensive barns are not needed. Another important item is the milk shed; these have a cost efficient light weight construction and last but not least, the cows get hardly extra feeding.
The dairy sector is dominated by Fonterra, a cooperative who in 2008 handled 96% of the total NZ milk production. Fonterra controls one third of the worldwide milk products market and is as such one of the main players in this market. In order to be able to supply Fonterra with milk, one must have shares in the cooperative. These shares give the owner the right to share in the profits made by the cooperative.
New Zealand does not have milk quota or quota on effluents. In the past, dairy farms were only found on the North Island but, as the real estate prices increased over the years, the South Island became more popular. Here one can find very large farms with up to 2000 cows.
1. 
The number of dairy farms decreased over the years, down to 11.630 farms in 2006/2007 with an average of 340 cows. 45% of the farms has more than 300 cows and 17 % more than 500. Herds with 650 to 700 cows are have the highest milk production per cow.
2. Producti
The milk production per cow increased the last couple of years due to gene research and improved farm management. The average production per cow during the 2006/2007 season increased to 330 kg milk solids with 189 kg fat and 142 kg proteins. There is of course a wide spread in the average, depending on geographical location, genetic composition of the herd, mount of animals per hectare and of course the farm management. The total production in the 2006/07 season was 15,134 million litre of milk (1,3 million kg milk solids).
3. 
After a peak in the milk price during 2007 – 2008, the actual payout is $ 5,10, an amount that apart of the for mentioned years, was never so high.
4. 
80% of the total dairy farms are located on the North Island with an emphasis on Waikato, the South of Auckland area. The average farm size on the South Island is 526 cows compared to 305 cows on the North Island with an average farm size of resp. 183 vs 126 hectares.

Poland is a large country with an area of 312.684 km², which is about 7.5 times as large as the Netherlands. To travel through Poland from west to east, about 700 km to be covered, from north to south is around 650 km. Poland's borders are determined by several countries, but also by the waters of the Baltic Sea. These boundaries have become final only after the fall of the wall. By many conquerors land was sometimes taken, later this was recaptured.

General

Poland is a large country with an area of 312 684 km2, which is about 7.5 times as large as the Netherlands. To travel through Poland from west to east, about 700 km to be covered, from north to south is around 650 km. Poland's borders are determined by several countries, but also by the waters of the Baltic Sea. These boundaries have become final only after the fall of the wall. By many conquerors land was sometimes taken, later this was recaptured. The population density in Poland with 124 people per km² is low compared to 452 people per km² in the Netherlands. The landscape of Poland is mostly flat (54%), there is only a small part of the country with mountains (9%), which is situated along the southern border of the country. The residual portion (37%) is hilly. Besides the mountains and hills, Poland also has many lakes and rivers. The most famous is the Vistula, it rises in the south in the Carpathians and flows through Krakow and Warsaw to the Baltic Sea and is a total of 1054 km long. Next to the Wisla is another great river, the Oder. Poland is a country where the boundary has become final only after the fall of the wall at that time, the boundaries shifted several times by rulers. As a result, there are many different ethnic groups living in the country. There are German Poland to the west, and people with Russian bands in eastern Poland. In addition there are several minorities such as Gypsies and Slovaks. There used to be many more people with a non-Polish identity, but World War II changed that. Poland currently has approximately 38.2 million inhabitants, 98% has the Polish identity, the remaining 2% are people of other nationalities. The mixing of cultures has produced beautiful monuments. In the historic towns you can see the evidence of ten centuries of architecture, painting, sculpture and applied arts.

Social Services

Average salary: 4000 PLN gross (€ 1: 4.1 pln) Minimum wage (2014): 1680 PLN gross Working week: 40 hours Retirement age: 67 years for men and women. Employees Tax on gross salary: 18% per year for anything under 85.528 PLN, above that it is 32%. Employers' premiums: about 21% of the gross salary up to a maximum amount. Corporation tax: 19% Dividend tax: 19% VAT: 23% / 8% / 5% / 3% / 0% Tax returns for companies: at least 1 time per quarter. 96% of the population is Catholic and religion plays an important role in the lives of Poles. On each occasion or celebration, the church is involved, unlike in the Netherlands, the churches are still full every Sunday.

Climate

The climate in Poland is a bit different than in the Netherlands. Winters are generally colder and the summers are warmer. The climate in Poland is influenced by various factors such as the Atlantic airflow influence in the west and to a lesser extent in the east on the temperature and precipitation. The Baltic and Asian air currents affect the temperature and precipitation. In the west, the climate is to qualify as a temperate maritime climate, while the east and south are characterized by a dry continental climate. Through these different influences the weather can change quickly, this is especially the case in the winter and in the mountains. The temperature ranges, with an average in July of 17 degrees Celsius on the Baltic to a EU average July temperature of 20 degrees Celsius in the southeast. In summer, the temperature is easily above 25 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature ever recorded in Poland is 40.20 degrees Celsius. July is generally known as the month with the highest rainfall in the year, december, however, is the driest month of the year. The average temperature in January is -1 to -6 degrees Celsius. But the lowest temperature ever recorded was -42 degrees Celsius in the central mountains. In the mountains the temperatures are not above 0 degrees for of 130 days per year, in the lower parts of Poland, the temperature does not exceed for three months. The amount of precipitation that falls on average per year is ranges from 450 mm. in central Poland to 800 mm. on the plateaus and lake plains.

Cash crop

Poland is the third largest producer in the EU when it comes to cereal and oilseed rape (after Germany and France). Poland is the largest producer of poultry, 6th producer of pork and milk. The large farms, the traditional state-owned enterprises, are found in the western and northern Poland. Poland currently has more than 2,300 farms larger than 300 hectares, about half of which own more than 500 ha property (GUS, 2013). Poland's infrastructure is good; there is a wide range of Polish and international companies in the agricultural sector. In the other parts of Poland, the companies are smaller and the vast number of small businesses, the average farm size across Poland is about 10 hectares. Through consolidation this grows annually. The Agencja has nearly 2 million hectares of the Polish state in management, this is mostly leased. In the coming years this land will be offered for sale, which often involves current changes, tenants have a first right to purchase. Agricultural land prices have risen in recent years with more than 10% per year, Poland has a classification system for the quality of agricultural land from 1 (very fruitful) to 6 (poor soil). About 65% of the arable land is Class 3 and 4. The well-managed companies are competitive with companies in Western Europe.

Its attractive climate, relatively inexpensive farmlands, and low costs of obtaining a quota are among the reasons why Portugal is an attractive country to farmers. Moreover, as its production is stagnating and domestic demand is growing, many farm-products have to be imported; as a result its agricultural products are generally sold at fair prices. This offers good opportunities for starting a dairy farm or market-gardening operation. For large-scale farms in particular, there are also benefits to be derived from the low wages in Portugal.

General

The mainland of Portugal has a surface area of 88,500 km2 and, including the islands (Madeira and the Azores), an area of 92,389 km2. Lisbon is the country’s capital and Porto is also an important city. The Portuguese countryside is very diverse, and it is different from the Spanish countryside. Tagus River is the country’s main demarcation line. Approximately half the area north of the river lies at an altitude of over 400 metres above sea-level, and the country south of the Tagus reaches this altitude at only few places.
By the latest count (2003), Portugal has 10.1 million inhabitants. In 2003, the population growth was 0.17 %. The majority of Portuguese people, 66.4%, are in the age category of 15-64. The population density varies greatly from one Portuguese region to another.

Social Services

The family still plays a very important part in Portuguese society. All family members help one another, such as the grandparents living at home and looking after the children, or family members abroad who transfer money home. Close family ties are therefore one of the key features of Portuguese society. The social security system, which looks reasonably fine on paper, does not work quite so well in practice. State pensions and welfare benefits are generally low, and they are hardly sufficient to make ends meet even though the majority of local residents enjoy rent protection and, compared to the Netherlands, rents are low. Portugal has a social security system that covers all cases of unemployment, occupational disability, maternity leave, old age retirement, etc. This insurance plan is funded by all employers, employees, and the government. In addition, there is an income-based tax to provide for the costs of the social security system. Portugal has a 9-year compulsory education system that starts at the age of six. Below the age of six, children may go to kindergarten. In the countryside, children who go to primary school are commuted to and from home by school buses. Often, the children get hot meals at school during lunch time. Primary education lasts four years. After primary school, they have to do a two-year course, followed by a compulsory three-year course. Educational courses are taught at different levels. After completing the compulsory courses, students may attend a three-year course in order to attain the level required for enrolling in university. Almost all of the population formally belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. There are three archdioceses, viz. Braga, Évora, and Lisbon, with, respectively, eight, two, and eight dioceses. There are Protestant churches in the principal towns and cities.

Climate

Portugal has a prevailing Mediterranean climate despite the effects of the relatively cold Atlantic Ocean and the continental Meseta. Hence the country has cool rainy winters and hot, dry summers. In the northern part of Portugal, the climate is distinctly different from that in the south. The north, where the wind-swept mountain slopes annually receive 2540 mm of rain, is characterized by a pronounced rain-shadow effect. In the area south of the Tagus, there is less than 800 mm of rainfall, and in the eastern part of the Algarve, there is less than 406 mm. On the whole, Portugal has westerly winds. There is a big difference between temperatures in the coastal areas and in the interior. In winter, temperatures along the coast are between 10 and 12 ºC and, in the interior, between 4 and 7 ºC. Summer temperatures vary from 20 – 24 ºC along the coast to 18 ºC in the northern interior. The Province of Alentejo has an annual average of more than 3,000 hours of sunshine, which is one of the highest figures in Europe. By comparison: the Netherlands has an average of 1,350 hours of sunshine.

Cash crop

The agricultural sector still plays an important part in Portugal. Since its accession to the EU, the Portuguese farming sector has received support from the Agricultural Fund. Despite EU support, however, productivity in the agricultural sector is lower than in most other Western European countries, which is partly because of the small-scale operations, antiquated farming methods and distribution systems. As production is stagnating and domestic demand is growing, many farm products have to be imported. Due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, little irrigation is needed in Portuguese farming. The soils along the river banks are very good. Apart from that, Portugal has reasonably good soils but the lack of humus and sprinkler-irrigation systems is a recurring problem. Land prices depend very much on the quality and location of the lands and vary between EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000 per hectare. Prices of the more expensive lands are due to the availability of sprinkler irrigation. Hardly any land is leased in Portugal. Dairy farming Most dairy farming takes place in the north of Portugal. The large modern dairy farms, many of which have been founded by Dutch people, are located in the southern provinces of Ribatejo and Alentejo. Among the features that make this area so attractive for starting up a farm are its attractive climate, relatively low wages, and low costs of obtaining quotas. The milk price in Portugal is among the highest in Europe. In January 2008, the price of milk was EUR 0.40 per litre at a milk fat content of 4.1% and a protein content of 3.4%. In summer, temperatures are so high that cows need protection against the heat. During this time of year, cows are typically kept in (open-front) barns. In winter, most cows are on the land so that they can graze. Due to the warm climate and the long period of growth, high yields per hectare can be obtained provided that sprinkler irrigation and proper fertilization is applied. Because of the high temperatures in the south of Portugal, grasslands may perish from the heat if no irrigation is used, causing the lands to require reseeding each year. With sprinkler irrigation, it is possible to grow maize in summer. In 1991, the use of milk quotas was introduced in Portugal. Up to 1999, the national milk quota was not filled, and everybody was able to apply for and obtain free additional quotas from the government. On 21 October 1999, the quota limit had been reached, and milk quotas got a financial value. This initial quota value was EUR 0.10 per litre of milk and, in January 2004, it was increased to EUR 0.24 per litre, in 2006 to EUR 0.33 per litre, and from the end of 2007 it was only a few cents per litre. Arable Farming & Market Gardening In Portugal, a large share of the added agricultural value comes from the market-gardening sector. The staple crops of Portugal are wine grapes, oranges, apples, pears, cabbage, peaches, tomatoes, and potatoes. The total amount of fruit produced is about 10 million (metric) tonnes, and the total amount of vegetables, including potatoes, is 30 million tonnes. Approx. 600 hectares of land is used for growing cut flowers and potted plants. Vegetables intended for fresh-produce markets are mainly grown in the Tagus Valley and along the coast north of Lisbon. Greenhouses can be found in the Algarve and along the west coast. In the north of Portugal there are small-scale arable farms. Grain, maize, beans, rye, rice, potatoes, olive oil, and wine are the staple crops of the arable sector. The main wine regions are in the north of the country. Portugal is among the principal wine producers in the world and, according to connoisseurs, it actually produces the best wines in Europe. The wines from Redondo, Borba and Requengos are very well-known in this respect. Of the total wine yield, about 50% is exported.

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

Foreign farmers and investors increasingly see the benefits of investing in land, businesses and farms in Slovakia. The country has a relatively low risk and stable long-term yields make investing very attractive. Farmland in Slovakia has been approximately 90% leased to mainly commercial and cooperative farms. Of this, 75% of agricultural land in private ownership and 25% is managed by the state. Slovak agricultural lands are very reasonably priced, not only compared to the Netherlands, but also other EU countries. The most fertile lands are located in the south of Slovakia. The country is a member of the EU, NATO and Schengen and has the Euro as currency, so there is no currency risk.

General

· Slovakia has a central location in Central Europe and bordering Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine.

· The country has a good infrastructure with direct connections to neighboring countries. The Slovak infrastructure is seen as one of the best in the former Eastern European countries.

· The country has about five million inhabitants and has a total area of about 49,000 square kilometers.

· Slovakia has a stable parliamentary democracy with a president at the head of the state.

· The country has a predominantly agricultural character that has evolved over the last 10 years in a highly developed industrially producing country (automotive, metal, IT).

· The south and southwestern part of Slovakia has an extremely fertile soil and it is therefore particularly well suited for agriculture.

· The central and northern parts of the country is predominantly mountainous with in the north, to the Polish border, an alpine region (Tartra National Park) with mountains up to 2655 m.

· 80% of Slovakia is located more than 700 m above sea level, the lowest point is in the south at 94 m above sea level.

· The western part of Slovakia, with the capital Bratislava on the border with Austria (about 60 km from Vienna), is most densely populated. Expansion of cities and infrastructure change the landscape considerably.

Social Services

Slovakia has no transfer tax. The corporate tax is 23%. VAT is 20%. The income tax is 19% (to income of € 39,000 per year) and 25% (above € 39,000). Both the employer (35%) and employee (13%) contribute to the social insurance to a maximum. Slovakia has no gift taxes and no inheritance. In addition, Slovakia has a road tax for the use of motorways (€ 60,- per year) and there are excise taxes. Slovakia has a tax treaty with the Netherlands to prevent double taxation. Property Tax for agricultural land is approximately € 30,- till € 60,- per hectare and in practice is paid by the user. Property tax is deductible from the profits. Slovakia has basically no dividend tax. However, there are rules as dividends are paid to Slovak residents.

Climate

Slovakia has relatively large climatic differences between the mountainous north and the flat south. The country has a continental climate where temperatures rarely rise above 37 °C or below -20 °C. The winters in the south are mild with daytime temperatures of -5 to +10 °C. The summers in the south may be hot with temperatures above 25 °C. The average rainfall in Slovakia is approximately 605 mm per year.

Cash crop

Historically viewd, Slovakia is a very agriculture oriented country. Within Czechoslovakia, Slovakia was known as the agricultural field, where the Czech Republic was more industrialized.

Approximately 90% of the agricultural land is leased to users of the land. This is the highest percentage in the European Union and is higher than that of comparable neighboring countries (Czech Republic 86%, Hungary 59%, Poland 24%, Slovenia 30%). In 2005, 84% of the agricultural land was leased by farmers while only 16% of the land was rented by private farmers. According to a survey in 2007, for use of agricultural land, the proportion of commercial farms (39.6%) was similar to that of the co-operative enterprises (39.5%).
Agricultural land is mainly used for the production of cereals (wheat, barley, corn) and oilseeds (including rapeseed, sunflower). The cultivation of potatoes and sugar is very modest done. The average yield per hectare is approximately 35% - 45% of those in the Netherlands. Because of improvements in technology, knowledge and optimizing the plots, this is expected to increase significantly, and the differences with Western Europe will be smaller.

Within Slovakia, the yields per hectare are very different. In the south and west are the yields per hectare higher than in the other areas. Slovakia has several grants for agriculture including:
1 Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS). This is a fixed amount per area (at least 1 ha).
2 Subsidy for sugar.
3 Subsidy for energy crops.
4 Subsidy for fruits and vegetables.
5. Bio products.
6 Livestock.
7 Other.

The SAPS are provided in the following year of the harvest every year and has risen sharply to a level of € 174,- in 2012. In the last few years it is expected that this will grow to at least € 240,-. The other subsidies can vary greatly per year. The trend is that the total of subsidies over a longer period will continue to rise. The differences in subsidy to Western Europe will decline further in the future.

General

Social Services

Climate

Cash crop

Sweden is a large country with lots of variety. There is much room for agriculture, but also beautiful nature is omnipresent. In north the climate contains plenty of sunny summers and cold winters with lots of snow. The central and northern Sweden is a wooded area. In southern Sweden, where a predominantly maritime climate prevails is a large sloping agricultural area with predominantly arable. Dairy farms can be found in all of Sweden. Driving through the woods it can be that suddenly good crops and agricultural land are found. Especially young entrepreneurs and start-ups have very good opportunities to start in Sweden. The country quota in Sweden is usually not fully used which creates a low quota price.

General

The Kingdom of Sweden (Konungariket Sverige) is a constitutional monarchy. With a total area of nearly 450,000 km², Sweden is within Europe a big country . Sweden has nearly 9 million inhabitants. This means that, on average, there only 20 people per km². The area of uncultivated land in Sweden comprises 31%, including its more than 96,000 lakes. Woodlands cover 58% of the country, and cultivated lands cover 11%. Sweden is subdivided into three main types of countryside:
Norrland in the north, Svealand in the centre, and Götaland in the south.
Norrland is mountainous with infinite forests and many rivers and lakes. Norrland comprises nearly two-thirds of Sweden’s total area. Svealand, in central Sweden, has a slightly opener and more friendly character.
Götaland, in the south, has a very diverse countryside with, i.a. in the southernmost province of Skåne, flourishing farmlands and beech woods. The west coast is flat with occasional stretches of sandy beaches. It also has a skerry coast with many islets and inlets. Here are the big lakes of Vänern and Vättern. Vänern is the third largest lake in Europe.
Sweden has nearly 9 million inhabitants. The Swedish population belongs to the most characteristic representatives of the Nordic race, whose features are: a long, slim figure, narrow skull, blonde hair, and blue eyes. There has been relatively little mixing of races in Sweden.

Social Services

In the past hundred years, Sweden has developed from a relatively poor agricultural country into a modern industrialized society. Sweden is now among the most prosperous countries in the world, with high incomes and good social security benefits. Since 1842, Sweden has had compulsory education. Primary education extends over a period of ten years, from the ages of 6 to 16. In 1962, the ten-year primary school system was definitively introduced. Nearly all schools are governed by local authorities, although there are private schools as well. It is striking that pupils do not receive report grades until their eighth school year. Moreover, as early as the third or fourth year, they begin learning English as a foreign language. After primary school, nearly all Swedes attend some kind of secondary education. Some then prepare for university studies; others combine theory and practice in order to learn a trade. The period of study at university and in higher professional education is about four years. All forms of public education, even in higher education, are free. Currently, about 90% of the population belongs to the Evangelical-Lutheran State Church. Many people go to church only for reasons of tradition, such as at Christmas, Easter, baptism, confirmation, and marriage. Yet, despite the low rate of attendance, the Church does not have to fear for its existence. Every Swede, whether religious or not, helps to keep the Church going by paying a voluntary contribution. Besides, the Church is the chief landowner in the country. The Church mainly owns forestland for the production of wood. Apart from its religious function, the Church also functions as a Civil Register Office. It records births, deaths and marriages. Since 1991, the tasks of Register Office have been taken over by Skattemyndigheten (Inland Revenue Service). In addition to the State Church, there are also about 100,000 Roman Catholics in Sweden. Only a small part of them are of Swedish extraction. The majority are immigrants from i.a. Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Poland. Apart from this, there are only some smaller churches and religious communities: Pentecostal Church (Filadelfia), Missionskyrka, Congregationalists, members of the Orthodox Church, Baptists and Methodists.

Climate

Sweden, like its neighbour Norway, is influenced by the Warm Gulf Stream. The average annual temperatures in regions such as North-Russia, Alaska, and Greenland, which lie at the same latitude, are therefore considerably higher. The south has a straightforward maritime climate due to the Warm Gulf Stream and so it has a bit more rainfall than the rest of Sweden. If there is snowfall, it often does not stay on the ground very long. The harbours remain ice-free, too. The south has four to five summer months, the central region has three to four, and the north has one to three. The west coast between Malmo and the Norwegian border gets most rainfall, ± 700 mm per year. The east of Sweden has only 300-400 mm per year. As in Norway and Finland, there are two special phenomena to be observed in Sweden: the midnight sun and the northern light. The midnight sun is a very popular attraction to many travellers. The further you travel towards the North Pole in summer, the higher and longer the sun keeps shining without disappearing below the horizon.

Cash crop

Swedish farms are mostly family operations, and the lands are owned by those who cultivate it. The cooperative system, for purposes of sales, purchases, and lending, is highly sophisticated. Three quarters of all agricultural products are processed or marketed via cooperative organizations. About 7.5% of the total land area can be used economically. Still, it manages to meet 80% of domestic demand. In the south, many crops are cultivated, such as all sorts of cereals, sugar beets, and beans. In central Sweden, the staple crop is grain (cereals), and further to the north, feed crops are grown. Livestock farming takes place in the south, on the narrow stretch of coastal land along the Gulf of Bothnia, and along the river valleys. Livestock farming is mainly concentrated on cattle farming, for the production of meat and dairy. Hogs (pigs), poultry, and sheep are kept as well. Animal welfare is an important issue.

Land prices are in the attractive range between EUR 4000 and EUR 12,000 per hectare, depending on location, parcel size, and precipitation. Leasing of land is common in Sweden. The supply of land exceeds the demand, so that people are relaxed about contracts. Swedish people close lease contracts on an annual basis, but these contracts are renewed automatically. The Swedish generally keep their word. On the whole, farms have sufficient lands at their disposal, but there is always the option of buying feed. Most farmers buy concentrate feed or residual products.
Grains are never a problem; you can buy them wet, dried, and crushed.
Maize yields vary per region. Maize is grown in Skane and Halland, but, further up north, the situation is not so good: supplies are limited and transports tend to make it unprofitable. Brewer’s grains are widely available, but this is not always the case for pressed pulp. In the Skane area down south, yields of grass (3 crops) are between 8 and 11 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. The yields of maize, too, are between 8 and 11 tonnes of dry matter per hectare and, though yields do not vary much in these regions, the reliability of ripening does. Especially along the coast, the chances of night frost are lower and maize attains a higher starch-content. So the chances of getting a good product are better there than further up north.

The Netherlands has a population of 16.8 million, a surface of 37 354 km² and a high population density of 449.9 per km². More than 18% of the surface consists of water and a large part of the country and the population is located below sea level. Polders are created by land reclamation. The landscape of the Netherlands is almost everywhere flat. The Dutch landscape consists mostly of cultural landscapes and also from managed natural areas.

General

In the past centuries, not only nature has changed, but because of reduction and fragmentation of habitat, quality and quantity also deteriorated. Through nature management and activities of individuals the Dutch trying to turn the tide.

Agriculture is by far the largest user of the land area of the Netherlands. This makes agriculture vital to the rural area. In the period 1975-2003, the volume of total gross value added of Dutch agriculture has increased from 4.1 to 10.2 billion euros (2002 prices). In contrast, the share of agriculture in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the same period decreased from 4.6 to 2.3 percent. The footprint of agriculture decreased the last thirty years by an average of 5 thousand hectares per year. Yet agriculture, with a current share of almost 60 percent in the total surface of the Netherlands, largely still defines the appearance of the Netherlands.

Expansion of agriculture means that entrepreneurs try to generate income from non-agricultural activities. These activities include agricultural nature and water management, agro-tourism and care farms. Currently, approximately 2 percent of the agricultural income derived from this type of activity.

The Netherlands has a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers. The climate is influenced by the North Sea which moderates the temperature throughout the year, with both daily and annual temperature differences increasing towards the east.

Social Services

De rol van de overheid ten aanzien van de verbreding in de landbouw is wisselend. De ontwikkeling van zorgboerderijen en agro-toerisme verloopt zonder veel overheidssturing. Bij agrarisch natuurbeheer is wel gekozen voor een sterke regie vanuit de overheid. Ongeveer de helft van de totale inkomsten uit verbreding van de landbouw is afkomstig uit agrarisch natuurbeheer.

Er zijn verschillende landbouwsubsidies voor boeren en agrarische bedrijven.

Inkomenssteun boeren via bedrijfstoeslag

Boeren die inkomenssteun willen ontvangen, kunnen jaarlijks bedrijfstoeslag aanvragen via de gecombineerde opgave. Zij moeten wel voldoen aan bepaalde voorwaarden om voor inkomenssteun in aanmerking te komen. Zo moeten zij duurzaam en maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen.

Garantstelling voor investeringen landbouw

Met de regeling garantstelling landbouw kunnen boeren of agrarische bedrijven eerder een lening afsluiten bij een bank. De overheid staat namelijk garant voor (een deel van) de lening.

Vergoeding voor agrarisch natuurbeheer

Boeren die hun landbouwgrond natuurvriendelijk beheren, kunnen hiervoor een vergoeding aanvragen. Dit kan elk jaar van 15 november tot en met 31 december, via de regeling Agrarisch natuurbeheer - SNL. Sommige boeren kunnen ook nog gebruikmaken van de regeling Kwaliteitsimpuls natuur en landschap (SKNL). Met deze regeling kunnen boeren hun landbouwgrond geschikt maken voor agrarisch natuurbeheer.

Tegemoetkoming premie brede weersverzekering

Agrarisch ondernemers met een brede weersverzekering kunnen sinds 2010 een tegemoetkoming aanvragen voor de kosten van de verzekeringspremie. Dit kan via de regeling Tegemoetkoming premie brede weersverzekering.

Climate

Het klimaat wordt beïnvloed door de Noordzee die het gehele jaar de temperatuur matigt, waarbij zowel de dagelijkse als jaarlijkse temperatuurschommelingen toenemen richting het oosten. In het noorden is de temperatuur gemiddeld over het gehele jaar iets lager dan in het zuiden. De kustprovincies in het zuidwesten, westen en noorden hebben in de herfst- en wintermaanden doorgaans zachter weer dan het oosten en noordoosten. In de zomer zijn het oosten van Brabant en uiterste noorden van Limburg de gemiddeld warmste plekken. De gemiddeld koudste maand is in de meeste plaatsen januari, de warmste maand juli.

Zonuren en neerslag

Met ca. 1650 zonuren heeft de kust de meeste zonuren, terwijl de Achterhoek met ca. 1500 uur de minste zonneschijn heeft. Ondanks het imago van regenland, regent het gemiddeld slechts 7% van de tijd. In de zomer is er vooral op grasland een verdampingsoverschot, maar gemiddeld is er jaarlijks een neerslagoverschot, het grootst op de Veluwe. Het natst zijn de Veluwe, Drenthe en Zuid-Limburg, het droogst het centrale deel van Limburg met minder dan 700 mm.

Weer

Het weer is sterk afhankelijk van de luchtsoort en de fronten die de verschillende luchtsoorten scheiden. Het meest voorkomend in Nederland is van de Atlantische Oceaan afkomstige maritiem polaire lucht die in de zomer vochtig en koud is en vochtig en gematigd warm in de winter. Bij een stormachtige noordwestenwind zorgt de maritieme Arctische lucht voor buiig, guur weer. Uit Rusland en Siberië wordt zomers warm en droge continentale polaire lucht aangevoerd. In de winter is deze koud en droog. Warme maritiem tropische lucht zorgt in de winter veel voor mist en in de zomer voor onweer. Continentaal tropische lucht is warm en droog.

Cash crop

De laatste vijfentwintig jaar is het aantal agrarische bedrijven in Nederland sterk gedaald. In 1980 waren er 144.994 landbouwbedrijven, daarvan waren er in 2004 nog 83.885 over. Ook het aantal mensen werkzaam in de landbouw is gedurende die jaren sterk afgenomen: van 265.467 in 1980 tot 167.824 in 2004.

Nederland is een op wereldschaal belangrijke exporteur van agrarische producten, ook al werkt maar 3% van de Nederlanders in de agrarische sector en is 2,2% van het bruto binnenlands product afkomstig uit de agrarische sector. De landbouw in Nederland heeft 2,3 miljoen hectare in gebruik. In 2008 was 55 procent van het totale landoppervlak van Nederland in gebruik voor landbouw.

The United States has for Dutch farmers with their commitment, knowledge and capital an excellent perspective of emigration, especially by the lack of a milk quota system.

General

The United States of America comprises 50 states, 49 of which are on the North-American mainland and one in the Pacific Ocean. In the north, the United States shares its border with Canada, and in the south with Mexico. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the United States, and the Pacific Ocean lies on its west coast. Washington D.C., named after the first President of the United States, is the country’s capital. A national holiday is the 4th of July, Independence Day, the day on which democracy was born in 1776. The currency of the United States is the American dollar.
At 9,629,047 km2, the United States is approximately the same size as Canada. Along the west coast of the United States, there are long mountain ranges. The central part of the country is relatively flat, comprising i.a. dry prairie lands, the Great Plains. At many places in North America, deep basins were eroded by the land ice, creating lakes later on. In the west of the Great Plains, there are a number of areas without any drainage to the sea, which created salty lakes such as the Great Salt Lake. Large rivers in the United States are the Mississippi and, in the north, the Yukon and Mackenzie.

The present population of the United States consists of very diverse groups of people. At the end of the sixties, massive flows of immigrants were set in motion from South America, Asia, and Africa, while the number of immigrants from Europe decreased during the same period. Due to immigration flows, a large percentage of the total population consists of ethnic minorities. The original inhabitants, the Indians, form only a small part of the present population.
On 1 July 2008, the total population of the United States was over 290 million. The spread of population is very uneven. In Alaska and the dry regions in the west, the population density is below 10 per km2, whereas in the east of the United States, around the Great Lakes, and in parts of Texas and California, areas can be found with very high population densities. The attraction of the southern states is due to the favourable climate in these states and the economic revival that took place there in the seventies and eighties. About 76% of the population live in urban areas, which include towns with 2,500 inhabitants or more. Most urbanization can be found in California and a number of states in the north-east of the country. The southern states are relatively least urbanized.

Social Services

American society differs from Dutch society in a number of respects. The United States has, among other things, a different educational system and different provisions for social security benefits. Public holidays may also differ, mainly due to different historical backgrounds.
Social security benefits in the United States are at a lower level than in the Netherlands, and they are tax-funded. Many social security benefits are organized differently from state to state. Furthermore, many insurance plans are not collectively organized but have to be entered into on an individual basis. The United States has the following social security benefits (“welfare benefits”):
• Unemployment benefit (An unemployment benefit covers a period of 26 weeks. This benefit is for a maximum of $300 per week. After that, food vouchers are available to anybody still out of work and compensation is paid towards the cost of rent and electricity.)
• Occupational disability insurance
• Widow’s and orphan’s pension
• Healthcare allowance for the elderly and the disabled

Insurance costs can be fairly high. As a result, not everybody is able to participate in a proper insurance plan. About 20% of Americans have no health insurance. The present educational system was developed in the 19th century. It differs from educational systems in other western countries, such as the Netherlands, in three respects. Firstly, Americans look at education as a solution for several social problems. Secondly, Americans have great confidence in the power of education, so that Americans attend school relatively more often and longer. Lastly, education in the United States is not nationally organized and funded. Public education is primarily the responsibility of the individual States and the school districts. Free public education up to and including high school is funded by (individual) State- or regional governments. However, higher education is not funded by these governments but by the individual student and his/her family, supported by any public or private resources to which they may be eligible. Alternatively, they may take out study loans. A point-by-point description of the educational system is given below.
In most western countries, such as the Netherlands, healthcare is funded by the government. These countries regard healthcare as a universal right. In the United States, healthcare is mainly funded by private organizations. The American government only provides funding for some health insurance programmes, but these are only available to a limited group of people such as the poor and the elderly. Americans pay for the costs of their health insurance in different ways. Employees may pay for their health insurance by allowing their employer to deduct a certain amount from their wages. Other employees work for an employer who pays their health insurance directly. People not eligible for health insurance via their jobs or a government programme, that is, most self-employed persons, can get privately insured by paying the costs of this directly to the insurance company.
Religion plays an important part in the United States. About 56% of the population are Protestants. There are many different denominations within Protestantism, ranging from fundamentalist to liberal. About 26% of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The Jewish faith is adhered to by 2.6% of the population. Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus form small minorities in the United States.

Climate

The climate in the United Sates is very diverse. Especially in winter, temperature fluctuations are very pronounced. Due to the influx of Arctic air currents, winters get increasingly colder in more northerly directions. The climate in the northerly states, with their long, cold winters, in which there is a lot of rain and snowfall, and their mild summers, is very different from the climate in the southern parts of the country. The southern states have a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The temperatures in southern states typically rise far above 30ºC in the months of June, July, and August. In the south-western desert areas, temperatures may rise to over 40ºC. From east to west, precipitation decreases until it eventually reaches the point where no crops can be grown without irrigation. A number of desert areas in Arizona, Nevada, and southern California have less than 125 mm of precipitation per year. Not all western areas are dry. Indeed, one of the wettest areas of the United States is in the north-west.

Cash crop

The United States has been the largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world for a long time now. Farm operations can generally be characterized as medium-sized and large operations with advanced mechanization. Mainly due to climatological and geographic circumstances, there are different agricultural zones. The north east and the areas around the Great Lakes, for instance, are known as a region where a lot of milk is produced, the so-called ‘dairy belt’. Moreover, the east coast has a lot of market-gardening, fruit growing, and poultry farming. The region south of the ‘dairy belt’ is known as the ‘corn soy belt’, i.e. a region where maize and soybeans, which are so important to livestock farming, are grown. In the south, where the cotton belt would penetrate deep into Texas, most cotton plantations have now been substituted by mainly mixed farms. On the coasts of Texas and Florida, citrus fruit, sugar cane, and rice are grown. In California, a lot of vegetables and fruit are grown, and there is a large-scale wine-growing sector. The Mid-West is known as the ‘wheat belt’, i.e. the grain basket of the United States. With regard to livestock farming, the United States is the world’s largest producer. Cattle-farming, especially of feeder cattle, mainly takes place in the States of Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Hog farming is mainly located in the north. There is large-scale poultry farming (chickens and turkeys) in California, New England, North Carolina and Georgia. Dairy farming is mainly located in the north, north-east, and in the vicinity of large cities. Dairy cattle As in the Netherlands, dairy farming in the United States has for quite some time been developing towards fewer, but larger operations, with a similar development towards fewer, but more productive cows. In 1959, there were still nearly 2 million dairy farms in the United States, whereas this number had dropped to only 91,990 dairy farms in 2002. Dairy farming in the west of the United States usually consists of large operations, with 500-1500 dairy cows. Due to their large size, these farms have a lower cost price that the dairy farms in the north-east of the country, where farms generally have a size of 50-150 dairy cows. The key characteristic of dairy policies in the United States is that there is no quota system. Apart from that, dairy policies are a complex set of regulations at several levels. Provisions at the federal level have been laid down in the form of marketing regulations. The aim of these regulations is to stabilize market conditions, so that dairy farmers and consumers can benefit from a stable market. In addition, it should at all times be possible to guarantee the consumer an adequate supply of dairy and dairy products. Many Dutch people emigrating to the United States in order to start a dairy operation there, decide that they need to construct new buildings. An advantage of new buildings is that one’s own requirements and management methods may be taken into account. Regulations regarding new dairy farm buildings vary from state to state and depend on the size of the operation to be set up. Some states only require a building plan. A number of states require a permit application for whoever wants to build a dairy farm of more than 700 cows. A fertilization plan may be required as well.

In Uruguay, agriculture is very important. Not only economically, but also the landscape and culture are dominated by agriculture. Many Uruguayan families own a piece of land on which they run cattle. Most Uruguyanen already learn horse riding at a young age and aswell as driving cattle. Although agriculture is so entrenched in the culture, there is a transition going on in recent years, with agriculture becoming more professional and commercial. Agriculture production is now more intensive and larger-scaled. That agriculture is the engine of economic growth in Uruguay. After China, Uruguay is country with the highest growth in the world, both on the macroeconomic level as well at the sectoral level. The transition from extensive farming to more intensive farming and grain farming, arable farming and forestry offers great opportunities for European farmers and investors. In Uruguay, the production ratio is very low. This is due to the relatively low cost of land and low labor costs. This means that with the exercise of farming using modern technology and knowledge, very good revenues can be reached.

General

Uruguay is located in the southern part of Latin America to the Atlantic Ocean. The north is bordering Brazil and Argentina is found to the south and west. This country is separated from Uruguay by the Rio de la Plata and the Río Uruguay. The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, is located on the bay of the Río de la Plata. The land surface of Uruguay covers approximately 176,000 km² (5 x size of the Netherlands) which makes Uruguay one of the smaller countries of South America.
The Uruguayan population counts nearly 3.4 million people, of which more than half live in the capital city. More than 90% of the population lives in urban areas and less than 10% in rural areas. The current Uruguayan population is almost entirely of European descent, especially Spanish and Italian origin. The official language of Uruguay is Spanish. After arriving in Uruguay the similarities with Southern European are striking, such as the culture, the people, the food is all derived from Spain and Italy. The landscape is characterized by rolling grasslands crossed by many rivers. The country has a varied and pleasant climate throughout the year. In summer, the average temperature is 25° to 30° Celsius and in winter, the average is 8° to 13º Celsius.

The growth of the Gross National Product (8.8%), unemployment (6.1%) and inflation (6.1%) in Uruguay were in 2010 at historically low levels. These rates together with the investment in the country show an economic bloom period. This is also linked to the high prices at the international level for food products such as meat, soy and rice. In addition, the Uruguayan government and economy have full confidence of international organizations like the World Bank, the IMF and the major banks in the world. Which no doubt also played a role in the foreign investors, the political and social stability in Uruguay. Compared with other South American and many European countries, Uruguay scored very well when it comes to economic freedoms, democracy, corrupution and legal certainty. In addition, in Uruguay there is a very good environment and quality. The favorable climate, the short distances between urban, rural and beach, safety and tranquility make the country very pleasant to live. For these reasons, more and more foreigners settle in Uruguay.

Social Services

The Uruguayan government has created a special legislation in 1998 to make foreign investments more attractive. On that basis, there is equal treatment of foreign investors with residents, there is no authorization or registration of the upfront investment required, and output and profits may be transferred to and from abroad without hindrance or charge. There are also all sorts of exemptions in the law of taxation arranged. Also there are free trade zones established in which foreign companies can establish themselves and to which they pay no taxes apart from the social charges for Uruguayan workers. In these free zones are mainly service providers, such as call centers established.

There are various taxation: individual income tax to 25%, 12% wealth tax on earned interest, 25% corporate income tax. In addition, a charge of 2% imposed on real estate transactions to both parties involved in the transaction. It is allowed to transfer without the slightest tax on assets, profits and dividends to the country of origin. There are also no restrictions on the use of foreign currency exchange offices exist where the currency can be exchanged, unconditional of authorization or registration anywhere. In Uruguay, there are fairly strict secrecy laws for banks.

It is very easy for foreigners to get in Uruguay, to settle and start a business. This is encouraged by the government in many ways. Upon entering through customs a tourist visa issued with a duration of three months. For longer stays, an application for a residence permit to be made to the immigration office (DNM).

Climate

Uruguay is located on the same latitude as Chile and South Africa and has a similar climate. Also, the soil conditions are excellent; studies from FAO show that the soil quality of Uruguay is worldwide number one. There is also plenty of water surface available due to the regular rain with a good spread over the year. In addition, Uruguay has the largest drinking water reservoir in the world, the Guarani aquifer. This makes it possible to have two crops per year in arable farming. For example, soybeans or sorghum planting in November / December and harvest in April / May and then on the same plot of wheat from June until the harvest in November.

Cash crop

The soil of the whole of Uruguay is recorded in an electronic database which is publicly accessible (www.prenader.gub.uy/coneat). By entering cadastral numbers in this system, a card made visible that the bottom of this area shows and indicates the types of production are the most suitable. Soil quality is ranked by indexation. This index is also an indicator of the price of land, by looking at infrastructure and possibly irrigation possibilities. All of the land in Uruguay and registered trademarks acknowledged and the sale of this land should also be reported and registered at the Land Registry.

There is a transition going on in agriculture, from small-scale production by families to large-scale diversified agriculture by private companies. These are leading to a shift from cattle ranching to agriculture, especially soy. There has also been a large increase in forestry,due to the arrival of cellulose manufacturers. Especially in the north of Uruguay, many hectares are planted with eucalyptus trees. Although there is a transition going on in the Uruguayan agriculture to more large-scale production, there is no real intensification of production started. Because there is no lack of space in Uruguay and they might not have the mentality to want to get the "bottom of the barrel", it is still quite extensive agricultural production and low labor input.

The economic prospects vary by sector, grain production and agriculture is marked by a far-reaching professional, fruit growing and viticulture are emerging and other sectors are more traditionally oriented. Especially in the livestock and then particularly dairy farming much profit can still be made. Exports of agricultural products is of enormous importance for the Uruguayan economy. The export of Uruguay is dominated by agricultural products (meat, rice, soy, dairy and wool provide the bulk of the exports). There is also a separate agency of the government that deals with the promotion of exports and investment. This agency Uruguay XXI is committed to promote Uruguayan agriculture abroad.

Roughly speaking, the agricultural sectors can be geographically distributed over Uruguay. Rice production takes place exclusively in the Northeast (Cerro Largo and Treinta y Tres). The fruit and wine growing is carried out mainly in the vicinity of Montevideo and Canelones Department. The plantations are mainly found in the central areas of the country, Durazno, Tacuarembo. Cattle ranching is generally carried out in the western zone along the river Uruguay on the border with Argentina. The price per hectare of this land is below average and amounts to about $ 3,500 by mid-2011. Extensive cattle usually takes place on businesses from 400 to 1,000 hectares. Dairy production traditionally takes place in the regions between Colonia and Montevideo.
The crop has grown enormously in recent years and now produce lot of soy, wheat, corn and sorghum. Crop farms are find especially in the south and center of the country place (Soriano, Rio Negro, Flores, Durazno), but also more and more north of the Rio Negro in Tacuarembo.

Obviously there are many differences between farming in Uruguay and Netherlands / Germany / Belgium. Firstly, the space, which is plenty available. The orientation is done by looking at trees, rivers or other fixed points in the landscape. In addition, in Uruguay not unusual for a company consists of several lots, sometimes separated by other land. Large holdings of more than one hundred hectares, one can always find in Uruguay have a natural drainage, trees or hardening. This means that a company is not productive for every square meter, as is common in Western Europe. Often in Uruguay, crop and livestock simultaneously performed to create the soil conditions of optimal use. In Uruguay there is little government involvement in agriculture. No permits, zoning or production, but no benefits in financial terms. This means that farmers can work with more freedom.

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