Zbigniew Wasąg
Effectiveness of technological modernization of selected family farms receiving European Union funds
The effectiveness of technological modernization of farms is a concept related to a farming system which includes rationality and efficiency of application of production means (external and internal) aiming at production growth. The dynamics of this process, defined as the efficiency of actions, is expressed by means of achievement of goals (within a rationally determined time period) with the use of the capital stock available for farm households, which is invested to make an improvement to workers equipment/machinery as well as a mechanization degree of the production process. 
The study presents the research results from the years 2004–2009 and includes the period prior to after granting of the EU funds for technological modernization of selected family farms. The research covered 70 family farms of different economical size (ESU), average area of 28.53 ha of arable land situated in the Biłgoraj County. The study objective was to determine a degree of technical infrastructure at workplaces and the purposefulness of application for subsidies to support their development with respect to the effectiveness of these funds use. The farms of varying sizes were investigated to examine the influence of the obtained financial support on efficiency improvement, i.e. the pace at which a required mechanization level is achieved and enhanced performance of technical modernization efforts at the farms. 
The study analysed the investment applications for financial subsidies filed by the farmers from the Biłgoraj County to the Agency for Development and Modernization of Agriculture, besides a questionnaire survey was performed by the present author. A deliberate, goal-directed choice of research objects ensured the assessment of the literal value of the EU funds in the improvement of farm technical modernization before and after investment projects subsidizing, and thus, to evaluate its impact on overall technological modernization. The efficiency of modernization of farms was measured with respect to the amount of subsidy, area of arable land, economic size and farm income. The technical-economic criteria applied to assess efficiency of technological modernization included reconstruction value of mechanization means, infrastructure level of workplace, installed capacity, objectified labour input, human labour input, technical infrastructure of employee, energy infrastructure, mechanization degree according to Zaremba, net goods production and company income. In the aim to establish a degree of technical performance, the period before the purchase of mechanization means was considered the reference point. 
The analysis has indicated the efficiency of the EU funding application for technical modernization in each studied group of farms but most effectively the funds are used in the farms of area up to 70 ha of arable land. The factors of primary importance prove to be the area of arable land, economic size, farming practices effects and an infrastructure degree of workplace. Agricultural technology has a notable impact on the implementation of the process of agricultural production, as it promotes wider use of working production means. In smaller farms, an increased level of work equipment is recorded along with serious financial burden of costs of mechanization means. The present researches supported the statement that the recent years have been marked with a structural change in the intensity of farm organisation, reflected in the growing intensity of bigger farms organisation and their balance level. The highest effectiveness of technical modernization was achieved by farms with the financial aid quota ranging between 100–150 thousand PLN through growth of reconstruction value of means of mechanization, level of infrastructure of workplace, objectified labour input and installed capacity. Whereas, the highest rise in the energetic infrastructure was noted in the farms with subsidies above 150 thousand PLN. The mean mechanization index was shown to elevate by 11.2% on average after subsidizing. 
The EU financial support has helped to improve farming performance (economic modernization) in bigger and economically stronger farms, but the efficiency of technological modernization (e.g. increase of the level of technical infrastructure) appeared to be higher in smaller farms (up to 30 ha of arable land).