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Castilla y León (also known as Castile-León in English) is an autonomous community located in the North-West of Spain whose landscape reflects the important role played by rural communities: the people from this region who have worked to preserve the traditional way of life, promoting quality food and primary sector.

To know a bit more about it, this region is the largest in Spain and the third in Europe. It has nine provinces and a population that represents over 5% of country population with 2.415.900 inhabitants (National Statistics Institute data, February 2016). Agriculture has traditionally been the basis of its economy. Thus, Castilian-Leonese agricultural production represents 15% of Spain’s primary sector.

Farmland

This region is generally dry and it has temperatures that range from extremely cold in the winter to scorching in the summer. In spite of these features, its lands are fertile and many different plants can grow in them. Additionally, irrigation is increasing in the basins of the Duero, Pisuerga, and Tormes rivers, so about ten percent of the region’s farmland is irrigated.

Irrigated farmland. Sugar beet crop. Photo: Agustín Rodríguez

Crops

  • Cereal: Castile-León is known as “the granary of Spain” because it has large fields of cereal crops growing throughout the central plateau, including wheat, barley, rye, sunflower and oats.
  • Wine: There are nine “Designation of origin” wine zones. They are mostly located around the Duero valley. It has become one of the areas in Spain that holds the biggest varieties of wine, and also some of the better known designation of origin, such as the cool white wines of Rueda and the strong red wines of Toro. Wine making in Castile-León is a very old tradition and it began with the Romans, who were very appreciative of Spanish wines. Nonetheless, the arrival of the Catholic monks and priests in the 11th century caused the real take off for wine in this region.
Cereal crop in Cañizal. Photo: Agustín Rodríguez

In conclusion, agriculture in Castile-León is an essential value for local economy and it is the livelihood for many families that inhabit this region. I would also like to point out that nowadays, with the help of technology, the agricultural production is more ecologic and productive.

 

Sunflower crop. Photo: Agustín Rodríguez

 

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