The Islands' landscape has been shaped by farming activities over many, many centuries.
Approximately 80% of the lass mass of the Isle of Man is used as agricultural acreage. This equates to 113,000 acres, including rough grazings, which remain as natural or semi-natural grassland used for extensively grazed flocks and herds.
Livestock mainly comprises cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry (eggs and broiler production).
Traditional mixed and small scale farming is still prevalent but in decline, and there are continuing trends towards specialist and larger scale agricultural units.
The Manx climate favours grass production and so dairy farming is the most important sector followed by beef and sheep.
A considerable range of combinable crops are also possible in the more suitable arable areas.
The Island has an international reputation for its low animal disease status, with no record of a major epidemic disease having occurred (which other countries accept as commonplace).
Imports and Exports
Whilst there is an increasing vegetable acreage, seasonal market demand still necessitates the importation of some green vegetables and salads.
On the other hand, cheese, beef and lamb are the main agricultural exports, with about half of total production leaving the Island -primarily for the UK.
Other commodities exported include livestock, cereals, seed potatoes, wool, horticultural produce and flowers (especially roses).
The industry is keen to promote local produce with initiatives such as the "I love Manx" campaign and the Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival proving very popular.
Grants, Loans and Subsidies
The Manx Government, through its Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, acknowledges this importance by making a range of financial support measures and services available to farmers and growers - by way of grants, loans and subsidies.
Also provided are advisory/technical services relating to disease and pest control, all aspects of agronomy, animal husbandry, farm management and horticulture.