Learn about farms and agriculture
Mixed farms have both livestock and crops. They are found where farmers have good quality, fertile land that they can use for arable farming and other land which is more suited for animals. Farmers will often grow fodder crops for their animals, and so save money on livestock feed.
Intensive and Extensive Farming
Intensive farms have a lot of inputs used on a small area of land. An example would be a market garden that uses a lot of chemicals, buildings, electricity and workers in a very small area of land.
Extensive farms have few inputs on a large area of land. An example is a hill sheep farm where perhaps only one farmer will look after a large number of sheep, which do not take a lot of looking after.
As mentioned in the Changes in British Farms section, farmers have increased the amount of food they grow on the land. This has led to the creation of wine "lakes" and grain "mountains" - surplus produce that has been stored in warehouses. The problem of too much milk and dairy produce was tackled by the E.U. bringing in quotas. These are limits on the amount of milk each farmer was allowed to produce.
The European Union is currently reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which many believe was the cause of these problems. It remains to be seen how successful these changes will be.
Growth of Cities
Some of the best quality farmland has been lost due to the growth of cities. This urban sprawl is mainly caused by new housing developments, but new industry, out of town shopping centres and multi-lane ring roads and by passes all contribute.
One solution is to build within the city in brown-field sites, although these places are not always popular as they have traffic congestion problems and lack of room for expansion. Another is to use a green belt - an area around a city where development is meant to be restricted by law. Such schemes have only had limited success.