The necessity to respond to the growing competition is associated with the continuous restructuring and modernisation of economic entities. The process also applies to agricultural holdings. A reflection of the undertaken measures in order to adapt to the ever-changing operating conditions was the transformation in the production and market activity as well as in the growing diversification of the position of farms in the agricultural products market, and consequently, their economic situation. Using the results of the representative field studies conducted periodically by the IAFE-NRI on a sample of about 0.2% of the agricultural holdings, the changes in contacts between agricultural producers and the agricultural products market have been analysed. The changes in that aspect have been shown in terms of external conditions and their impact on the transformations in basic agricultural structures. The results from the research showed that the on-going processes were immanent, but their pace was, to a large extent, determined by the economic situation in agriculture and in the nonagricultural labour market. However, the accession of Poland to the European Union (EU) was a turning point in the decisions made by farmers with respect to the role performed by their agricultural holdings and thus to the nature of the undertaken adaptation measures determining the intensification of contacts with the market. As a consequence, the changes have been reported in the processes taking place so far. The group of farms not involved in agricultural activities has been virtually eliminated. The market marginalisation of the growing group of agricultural holdings was accompanied by increasingly stronger production concentration processes and the development of the segment of entities whose socio-economic efficiency was comparable to that of non-agricultural enterprises, namely large-scale units. That group became an owner of more than ½ of the agricultural land and delivered almost ¾ of the agricultural production to the market.
Key words: market contacts, agricultural holdings, commercial farms, large-scale farms, production potential