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Classifications JEL: Q10, Q13, Q18 The European Union (EU) has, since a long time, an important role in the international livestock industry chains, both in terms of production and trade. In spite of a strong restructuring movement, mainly due to factor productivity gains, European livestock brings together farms that are still very heterogeneous in terms of productive combinations, size, social structuring, intensification and economic performance. To document this, data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) is used to analyze the diversity of structural and economic situations of farms specializing in the production of milk, beef and pigs/poultry, for the ten most productive EU Member States in animal production. This step is necessary for identifying the main levers for improving the economic performance of European animal productions. Two types of levers are distinguished. The first concerns the « cost competitiveness ». It refers successively to the substitution of production factors, economies of scale, the geographical concentration of production, the structuring of production chains and the impact of agricultural policies. The second concerns the « non-cost competitiveness ». It covers the sanitary quality of animal productions, the differentiation of products and production processes, and the required conditions for farmers to capture some of the generated value-added.


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