Did you know that only 3 % of Norway is arable land? – And that only 30% of this again can be used for grain production? Or that Norway is more than 2500 km long from south to north, so that if we keep the southernmost part of our country in place and turn the whole country around this point, it would reach as far south as Mid-Italy? But as long as we don’t turn our country upside-down, our northernmost point is situated at 71 degrees north …
Farmers in Norway are skilled. Do they also have to be stubborn?
Farms in Norway face very different climate and conditions for agriculture from south to north, and from the farms at sea level to the farms in the mountain areas.
With many steep hills, high mountains, small pieces of land, cold winters and short summers, agriculture in Norway demands knowledge, skills, dedication (determination?), creativity and perseverance.
And their families?
Almost all farms are run by families and most of them have taken over the farm from parents or other family members. In 2018 we had nearly 40 000 agricultural holdings, with an average size of 25 ha of arable land. In addition, most farms have some cultivated forest land and many also own areas in the mountains, and a right to hunt and do fishery. Forestry is an important part of Norwegian agriculture. 20 per cent of Norway is cultivated forest.
The biggest farms are situated in the southeastern part of Norway. This is also where you find the warmest and longest summers. Hence this is an area where we grow grain and vegetables. At the moment the national market share for domestic produced grain and potatoes is approximately 60 percentage.
The rest of the arable land is mainly used for grass production. Out of 40 000 holdings, nearly 10 000 keep diary-cows and 14 000 keep sheep. If the farm has access to areas in the mountains, sheep and cattle graze there during the short summer. For these farms, the areas in the mountains are an important resource for the meat production.
Combination of jobs
However only a few of our farming families get enough income from traditional agricultural production. In most parts of the country, farming has traditionally been combined with other activities such as fisheries (for those close to the sea) and logging for those situated in the inland.
Today one or several members of the family usually have another occupation besides taking part in running the farm.
The density of population is low. We are 5 million Norwegians living in an area of, which gives 14 people per km2 (in comparison Holland has 505 people per km2 and Singapore almost 8000!). As in many other countries, an increasing part of the population lives in cities and urban areas.
To be continued (make sure you do not miss part 02. 🙂 )
Acknowledgements: Text and photos by Tone O Mosebø, Stend Vidaregåande Skule – MANY THANKS 🙂