宮崎県高千穂町における肉用牛産地の成長と持続的発展への課題 : 2000年代初頭の和牛価格高騰期に注目して [in Japanese] The Growth of Cattle Farming Areas and the Problem of Sustainable Development in Takachiho Town, Miyazaki Prefecture : Focus on the Period of Increase in Wagyu Beef Price in early 2000s [in Japanese]
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There are questions being raised over the safety of imported farm produce and concealment of its provenance, and there is heightened demand for domestically produced food. With public consciousness connecting these issues with the recovery and rejuvenation of production areas within Japan, the plunge in imports from the US and increase in beef price have been a focus of attention. Against this background, the reality of the growth in recent years of cattle farming areas and the problem of sustainable development was investigated. Below are the results of the investigation, using the town of Takachiho, in Miyazaki prefecture as a case study. Firstly, Takachiho had a long-term decline in the number of cattle, but this turned around in the second half of the 1990s and the number started to increase. The reason was due to concerted action of the neighborhood municipality and local agricultural cooperative started in 1998, aimed at increasing the number of cattle by expanding the scale of full-time farmer's operations and by getting older farmers to delay retirement from farming, and it was also found that the increase in Japanese beef prices since 2002 did generate interest in scale expansions of farms. Secondly, based on analysis of the management of farms in areas that experienced marked increases in the number of cattle, the following five points became clear. 1. The rearing scale of a professional farmer's operation where there was a successor to take over from them was over 20 head of cattle, and it was about 10 head on farms with middleaged semi-professional farmers. Only in farms run by elderly farmers were there four or fewer head of cattle. Thus, in general, the scale of a farm was determined by the working ability of the operator. 2. The majority of farmers had experience of doing a second job, with particularly many involved in the forestry and construction industries. 3. While larger scale farms have more crop land, including leased land, and produce animal fodder, mid-sized farms have a combination of businesses, producing shitake mushrooms or vegetables. 4. The focus of the activities to increase the numbers of cattle were the full-time farmers who had successors for their operation. However, while there were also cases of small-scale part-time farmers also increasing the number of cattle raised, saying their motivation was that "it contributes to activities", a sense of community also contributed to the increase in cattle numbers. 5. Despite the fact that in the second half of 2008 the price of Japanese beef fell, farmers with about 10 head of cattle are currently strongly interested in increasing their herd. Further, obstacles to continuous development were found to include the decline in Japanese beef market prices, reduced part-time work opportunities, and a lack of funds for expansion of management. In order to ameliorate these problems, the agricultural cooperative started work on expansion of a feedlot and started on the creation of a common pasture, in order to support the market price for Japanese beef and promote low cost operation. Nurturing mid-scale farmers will be the key going forwards, and, in order to implement this policy, financial assistance for expanding livestock barns is anticipated.
- GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES
GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES 65(2), 82-103, 2010
THE JAPANESE SOCIETY FOR GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES