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Two thirds of the Dutch dairy farms has a successor

Nearly two thirds of the Dutch dairy farms headed by a farmer aged over 55 have a successor lined up according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands. This means that succession in a dairy farm is twice as popular as succession in an average farm. Size is a crucial factor in succession.

In 2012 there were nearly 69 thousand agricultural and horticultural holdings, of which 32 thousand were headed by someone aged over 55. In 34 percent (11 thousand holdings) there is a successor ready to take on the farm, while there is no successor for 21 thousand holdings. In 2008 some 29 percent of the holdings had a successor lined up.

Between 2000 and 2008 the share of holdings with a successor declined. In 2012 it is again higher than in 2008. The share already started to increase after 2004 for large and mid-sized holdings, and after 2008 for small holdings and hobby farms.

Most successors in dairy farming
In 2012 there were 6 thousand dairy farms headed by someone over 55, of which 64 percent had a successor. This was 50 percent with goat farms. Least popular is succession in sheep farms (12 percent), horse and pony holdings (20 percent) and tree nurseries (21 percent).

More successors in larger holdings
Not only the type but also the size of the holding plays a major role in succession. Large and mid-sized holdings have most successors lined up. There is a successor available for 71 percent of the large holdings headed by someone over 55, and almost 56 percent for mid-sized holdings. These percentages are 90 and 68 percent for dairy farms, which is considerably higher. This means that the interest in succession in dairy farms is above average also within the group of large agricultural and horticultural holdings.