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Abstract

LFA Payments as an Instrument for Preventing the Depopulation of Rural Areas in Poland. Farms situated in the less favoured areas (LFA) are faced with difficulties of a landform, poor quality soil, small areas of agricultural land, a low production scale, low labour productivity, depopulation, a change in the demographic structure, defeminisation, lack of successors and a negative balance of migration. These social difficulties significantly affect the operation of agricultural holdings. Aid in the form of payments seems to be justified as the temporary prevention from the escalation of these problems. The main objective of the LFA activity under the Rural Areas Development Programme 2007-2013 was to provide equal opportunities for the development of farms located in the areas with environmental conditions unfavourable for farming. These payments are the compensation for an income loss due to environmental difficulties and they are expected to counteract the depopulation of rural areas. The research sought to determine the influence of the LFA payments on a reduction of depopulation in rural areas in Poland in the years 2007-2013. The research showed that the subsidies limited the population outflow from rural areas, i.e. they increased the probability of maintaining farms.
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Abstract

Social and Economic Costs of Spatial Disorder in Agriculture. The main objective of the study was the identification of the phenomena of chaos in the structure and spatial organization of agriculture, that is the agrarian fragmentation of farms, exclusion of land from agricultural production in suburban zones and the fragmentation of the agricultural landscape. These processes cause a major increase in economic and social costs, which results in the loss of resources and spatial disorder in agriculture. An attempt was made to estimate the costs of these processes in economic, social and environmental terms. The economic dimension of spatial disorder in agriculture is manifested by negative results in the production and consumption sphere related most often to high labour costs, and consequently to low incomes. The social dimension of spatial disorder in agriculture is demonstrated by the effects of de-agrarization processes and deformation of social structures. De-agrarization means the processes of agricultural area reduction, extensification and fallowing as well as an increasingly limited significance of agriculture as a workplace and a reduction in the source of income by rural residents. A conducted analysis of spatial disorder in agriculture resulting from the lack of appropriate regulation and taxation systems as well as historical factors allowed determining direct and indirect results influencing the structure and spatial organization of agriculture. Direct results include: a chessboard pattern of agricultural land, marginalization of the agricultural function in rural areas which mostly applies to suburban zones, unregulated ownership of farmland, its unjustified designation for other purposes, a decrease in biodiversity in agriculture and fragmentation of the agricultural landscape. Indirect results include: an increase in the costs of agricultural production, expensive agricultural-installation plans, loss of direct payments, easement appurtenant, the emergence of human-environment conflicts and major transformations of the agricultural landscape in a suburban zone.
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