|Tamás Kismányoky, Tamás Hermann, Brigitta Tóth, Gergely Tóth, Oihane Fernandez-Ugalde, Minggang Xu, Wang Fei, Thomas Caspari, Zhanguo Bai, Xiaodong Song
|Kismányoky, T. et al. (2016) Classification of farming systems across Europe and China. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 2.2 21 pp
|1. Definitions of farming systems
|2. General requirements towards farming system classifications
|3. Proposed working definition of a farming system for iSQAPER
There is a large diversity in definitions for farming systems. The most frequently used are these:
- A farming system is a decision making unit comprising the farm household, cropping and livestock system that transform land and labor into useful products, which can be consumed or sold (Fresco and Westphal, 1988).
- A farming system is a resource management strategy to achieve economic and sustained production to meet diverse requirement to farm household while presenting resources base and maintaining a high level environmental quality (Lal and Miller, 1990).
- A farming system is a set of agro-economic activities that are interrelated and interact with themselves in a particular agrarian setting. It is a mix of farm enterprises to which farm families allocate its resources in order to efficiently utilize the existing enterprises for increasing the productivity and profitability of the farm. These farm enterprises are crop, livestock, aquaculture, agroforestry and agri-horticulture (Sharma et al., 1991).
- A farming system is a mix of farm enterprises such as crop, livestock, aquaculture, agroforestry and fruit crops to which farm family allocates its resources in order to efficiently manage the existing environment for the attainment of the family goal (Lal and Miller, 1990).
- A farming system is a unique and reasonable stable arrangement of farming enterprises that a household manages according to well defined practices in response to the physical, biological and socio-economic environment and accordance with the household goals preferences and resources (Shaner et.al., 1981).
- A farming system is defined as a complex interrelated matrix of soil, plants ,animals, implements, power, labor, capital and other inputs controlled in part by farming families and influenced to varying degrees by political, economic, institutional and social forces that operate at many levels (Dixon et al., 2001).
- A farming system is defined as a population of individual farm systems that have broadly similar resource basis, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate (FAO, univ.fao.org/farming systems).
There are significant differences among farming systems depending largely on agro-ecological conditions and pedo-climatic zones. This agro-ecological diversity, plus the heterogeneity of economic, political and social conditions has resulted in the development of a wide variety of farming systems.
For the purposes of iSQAPER we needed a dynamic agricultural production system classification that can be mapped and refined through time (Robinson and Thornton, 2006).
The farming system should be able to:
- summarize existing global agricultural production classifications
- develop a common classification framework that:
a) can be mapped using existing global or at least EU/China data sets,
b) meet various operational requirements e.g. stratification for data sets, livestock and crop production modelling,
c) be of operational level use at EU and China level,
- develop a detailed plan of work for completing a global system classification;
a) the definition of the category of mixed farming is challenging,}
b) to define a generally applicable production system classification,
c) a particular cropping system may be associated with a number of different livestock system and a particular livestock system may be associated with a number of different cropping systems,
d) the classification scheme should be interpretable and repeatable, given updates of information, additional data layers and adjustments to classification criteria,
e) the classification should be dynamic to allow investigation of the likely developments of FS in the future, and how they might evolve in response to global drivers such as population pressure, changes in demand for livestock and crop product and climate change.
The farming systems represent the combination of cropping and livestock activities and the resources available (pedoclimatic conditions) to the farmers to raise them for their production purposes.
The philosophy behind this approach is to secure a judicious mix of cropping system with associated enterprises like animal husbandry suited to the given pedo/agro climatic conditions in accord with the socio-economic status of farmers in order to bring prosperity to the farm.
Note: For full references to papers quoted in this article see