The purpose of the present work is to analyse the economic performance and financial standing of a group of farms during the 2002- 2005 period, thus providing an opportunity to evaluate ex-post the effects of the new common agricultural policy orientations. The twenty agricultural enterprises studied occupy a total area of 8,000 acres and are situated in two regions of central-northern Italy: ten of the farms are in Emilia-Romagna and characterised by a prevalence of arable crops, while the remaining ten farms are in Tuscany and produce grapevines and olives in addition to arable crops. This paper presents the results of a profitability and balance sheet analysis of the agricultural enterprises, and examines the reliance of their overall business performance on EU payments. In line with the new directions of community policy, the role of diversification in creating value is specifically addressed, not just in terms of multifunctionality but also from the broader perspective of multiple business activities.


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