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Nobody knows how much farmers earn


Photo: Ragnar Våga Pedersen

If you are employed, it's not difficult to find out how much you earn. But if you are a farmer, the “salary” is not easy to work out. So how can we manage to compare the income of farmers and salaried employees?

This is what the so-called “Income Calculation Committee”, or Grytten committee, is trying to uncover. Ola Honningdal Grytten chaired the Committee, and its report was published October 2022: NOU 2022:14 “Income measurement in agriculture”, or the “Grytten report”.

The Committee was established because the Norwegian Parliament and Government wanted to increase food production at a time of both political unrest and unstable climate. In which case we must have farmers with an income that means they can and want to continue working.

Calculating an average net income for Norwegian farmers has proved to be easier said than done. That is because there is a lot of variety among Norway’s more than 38,000 farmers.

The Grytten report shows that almost half of Norwegian farmers receive less than 10 per cent of their total income from farming. A third have negative or no net income from farming. Just a quarter of Norwegian farmers receive more than half of their income from farming.

If you look at different productions, major horticultural crop producers do well, while many of those who farm with sheep, suckling cows and corn have lower incomes.

Lars Johan Rustad is head of NIBIO’s division of agricultural economics. He has been involved in the Committee Secretary. He has also been the link between the Committee and NIBIO’s expertise in agricultural economics.

Rustad explains that the Committee is proposing a model for calculating net income that they call the Hybrid Model. According to this model, the average income for the upper half to a third of Norwegian farmers is NOK 518,000. The final decision on how farmers’ incomes will be measured will be taken by the Norwegian Parliament following a consultation period.