Finnish farming is characterized by the relatively small proportion of arable land under cultivation, the large proportion of forestland, the small-sized landholdings, the close association of farming with forestry and stock raising, and the generally adverse climatic and soil conditions. Farming is concentrated in southwestern Finland; elsewhere, cultivation is set within the frame of the forest. In 2002, there were 74,328 farms. The average farm had about 30 hectares (74 acres) of arable land. Small-sized farms were encouraged by a series of land reforms beginning with the Lex Kallio of 1922. The Land Use Act of 1958 sought to improve the conditions of existing farms by increasing the land area, amalgamating nonviable farms, and introducing new land-use patterns. The agricultural labor force was 8% of the economically active population in 2000. The same year, agriculture contributed 4% to GDP.
The principal crops in 2000 (in tons) were barley, 1,985,000; oats, 1,413,000; sugar beets, 1,046,000; potatoes, 785,000; and wheat, 538,000. A total of 2,126,000 hectares (5,253,000 acres) were classified as arable in 1998.