Family businesses made up 96 per cent of private sector firms in the agriculture and extraction industries.
Family businesses contributed £598 billion to UK GDP in 2017, with the highest concentration of family firms in the agriculture sector.
A new report by the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation revealed the contribution family firms make to the economy, with 96 per cent of private sector firms in agriculture and extraction family owned.
There were 155,000 family-owned businesses in the sector, employing 400,000 people.
Multi-generational businesses were also most common in the agriculture sector, with 72.1 per cent of firms being owned by the family for more than one generation and 20.2 per cent by four or more generations.
IFB director general Elizabeth Bagger said family businesses were at the heart of communities and the report showed they were ‘a vital force’ in the economy.
“Agriculture and extraction family businesses create a substantial proportion of employment, and we are proud to champion and delighted to celebrate this incredible contribution,” she said.
She said family firms had the appetite and ambition for growth, investing in skills and looking to the longer term.
But she said the country needed to help them overcome challenges such as scaling up and transferring ownership through the generations.
“For those first generation family businesses looking at succession for the first time, it is important too to realise you are not alone,” she added.
“There are successful, multigenerational family businesses all around the country that you can learn from.”
Small family businesses were also more likely to have female leaders, with 81 per cent having at least one female director, owner or partner.