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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

The Rural Business Unit (RBU) within the Department of Land Economy is a leading UK centre in Agricultural and Horticultural Economics and undertakes a substantial programme of research for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This work involves the analysis of farm businesses and commodity enterprises in order to inform agricultural policy in Whitehall and Brussels and the evaluation of policy measures such as set-aside. Researchers in the unit also undertake research and produce publications on the food aid policy of the European Union, the effect of CAP income distribution and food security and the reform of the sugar regime.


The RBU has nearly 100 years experience of survey work and holds data sets covering virtually every aspect of the Farm Business. Expertise in the Unit is diverse, including agricultural economics, policy analysis, farm business management and survey design. Colleagues in Land Economy's Environmental Economy and Policy research group (EEP) are leaders in the field of agri-environmental economics. The RBU also has considerable experience of liaising with other Universities, research organisations, industry bodies, and commercial consultants. Combined, these factors give the RBU a unique position in undertaking research into the rural economy.

The RBU works with the Universities of Nottingham, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Reading, Askham Bryan and Duchy Colleges to carry out research including the Farm Business Survey and Sustainable Intensification Benchmarking.

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