Glossary:Agricultural holding

An agricultural holding, or holding or farm is a single unit, both technically and economically, operating under a single management and which undertakes agricultural activities within the economic territory of the European Union, either as its primary or secondary activity. Other supplementary (non-agricultural) products and services may also be provided by the holding.

An agricultural holding is then defined by the following criteria:

  • It is a single unit both technically and economically; in general this is indicated by a common use of labour and means of production (machinery, buildings or land, etc.)
  • It has single management; there can be single management even though this is carried out by two or more persons acting jointly
  • Carries on at least one of the following activities defined in European Statistical Classification of Economic Activities (NACE Rev. 2) for crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities with some exceptions specified in additional notes in the Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1166/2008:
    • Growing of non-perennial crops (NACE A01.1)
    • Growing of perennial crops (NACE A01.2)
    • Plant propagation (NACE A01.3)
    • Animal production (NACE A01.41 to A01.47 and parts of A01.49)
      • Holdings raising and breeding ostriches or emus (NACE A01.49)
      • Holdings raising and breeding rabbits (NACE A01.49)
      • Holdings with bee-keeping, production of honey and beeswax (NACE A01.49)
    • Mixed farming (NACE A01.5)
    • Holdings exclusively maintaining agricultural land in good agricultural and environmental condition (NACE A01.61)
  • Has its activity in the economic territory of the European Union as defined in the Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 or, where applicable, the most recent legislation


  • Agricultural holdings that have utilised agricultural area (or livestock) in different regions; the holding is treated as one unit as long as it remains a single unit both technically and economically (common use of the means of production) and operates under single management
  • Holdings that for tax or other reasons are split up among two or more persons, but still have a single management (one common manager) and are therefore considered to be one economic unit (single holding)
  • Two or more separate holdings, each having previously been an independent holding, that have been integrated into the hands of a single holder, are considered to be a single holding if they now have a common manager or if they use the same labour and equipment (single management and technical and economic unity)
  • Agricultural holdings which produce wine or olive oil from self-produced grapes or olives (NACE A01.2)
  • Holdings raising and breeding ostriches or emus (NACE A01.49)
  • Holdings raising and breeding rabbits (NACE A01.49)
  • Holdings with bee-keeping, production of honey and beeswax (NACE A01.49)
  • Holdings exclusively maintaining land in good agricultural and environmental condition as defined in Article 94 of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 (NACE A01.61)
  • Bull, boar, ram and billy-goat breeding stations and studs
  • Hatcheries
  • Agricultural holdings of research institutes, sanatoria and convalescent homes, religious communities, schools and prisons
  • Agricultural holdings which form part of industrial enterprises
  • Common land consisting of pasture, horticultural or other utilised agricultural area, provided that such utilised agricultural area is operated as an agricultural holding by the local authority concerned (e.g. by the taking in of another persons’ cattle to graze at a certain rate “taking of animals into assignment”)
  • Livestock holdings with no animals present on the reference day, due to temporary breaks in the production cycle (e.g. regular sanitary cleaning of animal houses, disease outbreaks, or similar reasons)
  • “Single-product group-holdings” if they are independent of the “parent” holdings and they mainly use their own factors of production and do not rely mainly on the factors of production of the “parent” holdings
  • Migrating herds, which do not belong to holdings using agricultural areas (independent holdings)


  • Holdings with the activities covered by NACE A01.49 other than the ones mentioned in the inclusions section above
  • Common land allotted under "utilised agricultural area for share farming or other modes"
  • Common land which has been rented out under "utilised agricultural area for tenant farming"
  • Single-product group-holdings in the case that they are not independent from the parent holding
  • Riding stables, racing stables, gallops (i.e. land used for exercising racehorses), if they do not have breeding activities
  • Kennels
  • Markets
  • Slaughterhouses (without rearing)
  • Game reserves growing crops only for the purpose of feeding the wild animals or maintaining the land in good environmental condition (but not receiving agricultural support for it)
  • Holdings that carry out support activities to agriculture and post-harvest crop activities (NACE A01.6) when they are undertaken exclusively (exception applies to NACE A01.61)


Before 2007 maintaining land in good agricultural and environmental conditions was not considered as an agricultural activity.

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