How can a farmer earn more

Agriculture: More than meat and milk - how farmers earn their money

Around 2,300 euros a month - that's how much a farming family earned per worker in the past financial year. Meat, milk and grain - these are important sources of money. But they haven't bubbled particularly vigorously in recent years. It only gets better very gradually. "The mood is not that gloomy anymore," announced farmers' president Joachim Rukwied before the Green Week in Berlin. Because prices fluctuate, around every third company has built up additional pillars. An overview:

PLANTS: From bread wheat to wine, potatoes and carrots to sugar beets: What grew on German fields in 2016 is worth 23.9 billion euros, almost three percent less than in the previous year. This results from data from the Agricultural Market Information Society (AMI). The most important items are grain and fodder crops.

ANIMALS: What the farmers produce in the barn is just as important: meat, milk and eggs. Last year, according to AMI, the production value was 23.5 billion euros, four percent lower than a year earlier. This was mainly due to the lower milk price. But also the meat of cattle, pigs and poultry as well as eggs became cheaper. Thousands of businesses also offer horse parking spaces, many are riding stables.

ELECTRICITY: Liquid manure, manure and maize are fermented into biogas, solar cells shine on the barn roof and wind turbines turn over the fields: Many farmers generate energy, in total it was 8,200 megawatts in the year before last - the output of around four nuclear power plants. "From farmer to energy manager" was a catchphrase for a long time. The farmers 'turnover with electricity is almost 5.7 billion euros, as the farmers' association estimates.

HOLIDAYS: Nature and animals, fresh food and sometimes help in the stable - that is a vacation on the farm. Around 10,000 of the approximately 280,000 farms in Germany have holiday guests. The holiday apartments and guest rooms are being booked more and more. Especially in summer there is hardly any free bed left on the farm, as data from the Federal Working Group on Holidays on the Farm shows. According to a study by the Ministry of Agriculture, the turnover limit of one billion euros was exceeded in 2011. Some businesses are turning into adventure farms - with carriage rides and a corn maze.

FOREST: Almost half of the German forest is privately owned, every tenth hectare belongs to a farmer according to the agricultural structure survey. Although the prices for wood have fallen slightly in the past two years, they are still up to halfway higher than about a decade ago.

FARM SHOPS: For many, they are an important additional source of income. The buyers are often regular customers and are willing to pay more on the farm than in the discounter - and in return to know the producer and know more precisely where their food comes from. In 2015, farmers earned 1.3 billion euros through direct marketing, according to an AMI study. But the farm shops are not benefiting from the new regional trend. Because even supermarkets rely on local brands.

OTHER JOBS: For half of the farmers, the farm is just a sideline - the main source of income is another: many are skilled workers, workers and employees. Plowed and fed before work and after work, on weekends and on vacation.

SUBSIDY: The EU spends more than every third euro in its budget on agricultural subsidies. German farmers receive around 6.3 billion euros a year from Brussels. "On average, these payments make up around 40 percent of the farms' income," says the Ministry of Agriculture. That can be tens of thousands of euros a year per farm, or even six- and seven-digit sums for large farms. On the website of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, anyone can check how much money the farmer next door is receiving. Farmers assume a special responsibility for nature and the environment, if the payments are justified there. dpa