Farming smallest industry

Harvest time in the 1960s.
Harvest time in the 1960s.
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Less than one in 100 people are farmers compared to almost a quarter of the workforce 170 years ago.

A report from the Office for National Statistics reveals far-reaching changes in the UK countryside.

Between 1841 and 2011 the proportion of workers employed in agriculture and fishing in England and Wales fell to 0.9 per cent – or 200,000 people in 2011.

Farming is now the smallest industry in England and Wales, compared to 1841 when over one in five workers were in those industries. In 2011, four out of five workers were in the service industry.

In 1900, an agricultural worker fed 25 people; by 2010, that figure was 200 people.