This paper aims to draw the picture of regional agriculture in the future based on the change in an agricultural structure in recent years and to examine the appearance possibility of new farmers. In the estimate results of using the Markov model, the total number of farm households in Japan is expected to decrease to 1, 936, 000 by 2020, down 1, 184, 000 from the level at the time of the 2000 agricultural census (decrease rate: 37.9%). The cultivated land is estimated at 2, 987, 000ha (decrease rate: 23.1%), the decrease rate in Hokkaido is lower than other prefectures. In addition, a number of new farmers necessary to maintain the cultivated land of 80% was estimated to eight times present. It is not so easy to secure a lot of farmers like this. However, the possibility exists. The city inhabitants who hope to be engaged in agriculture are in the tendency which increases greatly in recent years. Moreover, the graduate persons of the farm household who resign and engaged in agriculture increase in not only the middle age group but also the young people group. When the environment in which both can be engaged in agriculture is arranged, securing the number of target farmers becomes possible.
Eating habits in our country, which have rapidly changed since 1955, can be expressed by words such as “detachment, ” “simplification” and “standardization”. Among the primary factors for this are a decreasing interest in food and agriculture caused by the separation of diet and agriculture. In such circumstances, public attention is being attracted to the emergence of those who are taking another look at a life detached from production and at the same time choosing an agricultural lifestyle. These people have created the possibility of supporting various forms of local agriculture. Therefore, after consideration of the new movement in school meals that is one of the primary factors in the recent change of lifestyle, as well as in eating habits, I would like to reach for the possibility of linking farmers to city people using “diet” and “lifestyle” as keywords. 1) The commodity economy which has permeated society along with the rapid growth of the economy, has advanced the concepts of “detachment of diet equals division of work” and “modernization equals westernization”, both in urban and rural areas. Recently, a new movement has spread over both areas. It is a movement towards self-support/self-reliance in rural areas and towards a change in lifestyle in urban areas with diet as the clue. This can be seen by purchases of safe food and participation in production, etc. 2) Other primary factors that have led to changes in eating habits are the theory of diet defined by the concept that “westernization equals modern eating habits” and school meals being prepared in line with this theory. However, in circumstances where children's problems caused by eating habits have become real, locally rooted, local-consumption type practices of dietary education through school meals have prevailed. This sort of situation helps to change people's values, including adults, in diet and agriculture. 3) The following are measures for creating a link between farmers and city people: (1) Changing people's values through the work of taking another look at what consumption and production should actually be, with “diet” as a key word. (2) Creating a distribution system which is in a locally rooted, local-consumption type system. (3) Taking measures to lead people towards agriculture with “diet” as the clue to an agricultural lifestyle, as well as endeavoring to make farmers and city people cooperate in terms of “diet and agriculture”.
The purpose of this paper is 1) to clarify the characteristics and developing direction of advanced agricultural corporations amid the change in consumer lifestyles and 2) to analyze the social aspect of advanced agricultural corporations in the scope of regional agricultural development. The characteristics of the corporations are as follows: 1) Customer-oriented farm management is adopted, and sales management is given priority over other kinds of management including production management. 2) For customer-oriented farms, it is very useful to provide the consumers with information about the products, production process and the producers themselves to increase the amount of their sales. 3) Many corporations are diversified not only in production but also in processing and sales. 4) As regards the production technology, organic or chemical reduction cultivation is adopted, because the consumers want to buy safe and reliable agricultural products. The relationship between the corporations and regional society has the following characteristics: 1) The corporations contract the machinery operations of the local part-time farms in the region and also the part-time farms buy the agriculture products of the corporations. So, it is very important for the corporations that the part-time farms in the region are reliable. 2) Agricultural products including processed products are consumed based on the local food culture, so local consumers are very important for the corporations when they sell their agricultural products. 3) Brand formation of the regional agricultural products is as important as that of individual corporations. 4) Organic agriculture production by the individual corporations should be developed as a sales strategy for sustainable agriculture in the entire region. 5) Corporations should promote interchanges between urban and rural areas. 6) Because the corporations are diversified into food processing or the sales sector, it is easy for them to accept employees that have various abilities.