13th Congress Proceedings
Drawing Up Farm Management Plans For Agri-environmental Schemes
The role of and the approach to the countryside and the environment has undergone dramatic changes in recent decades as relations between sustainable, multi-functional agriculture and the need for preserving natural resources were realised. On the other hand, to be successful in a commercial environment farmers need financial planning and control. However, at this stage of privatisation process and development of rationalised farm businesses within Hungary, there exists a large number of small family-managed holdings where business and production skills are at an elementary level. Moreover, application for agricultural state support and planned subsidy priorities of agro-environmental programs will be linked to the condition of having clear business and management plan. These facts represent a growing demand for establishing of rural extension services and an increased need for sound farm business planning. The objective of the research is to elaborate a computerised planning methodology that help farmers not only to exercise effective management controls over the financial aspects of their business through proper planning and record keeping based on calculations of up-to-date information but to encourage the introduction and use of farming practices compatible with the increasing demands of protection of the environment and natural resources (multifunctional agriculture) as well. The methodology is suitable for producing sustainability indices in order to characterise the environment. Well-known and widely applied methods, such as calculation of gross margin, internal rate of return and net present value liked to issues which were previously little focused on, such as manure production and use, or studying the N cycle within the farm. The methodology is tested in selected case study areas and it is investigated what sort of changes are required on farm level to achieve environmental and economic sustainability and how should farm-level based systems be designed to prevent increased negative externalities of agricultural production with respect to Hungarian circumstances.