Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

NFU survey reveals decline in confidence among arable farmers

PUBLISHED: 09:05 26 December 2015

NFU president Meurig Raymond.

NFU president Meurig Raymond.

Farmer confidence is on the wane, with nearly half seeing profits fall, a new report has found.

Increased volatility and falling commodity prices across the sectors have seen farmers’ confidence drop to lower levels than last year, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) confidence survey shows.

Confidence specifically in the arable and dairy sectors has declined significantly from last year, but farmers across the industry said the three-year forecast is much more positive.

Members told the NFU, as part of its sixth annual confidence survey, that they expected negative impacts on their businesses in the coming year relating to regulation and legislation (69%), Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform (51%), output prices (56%) and input prices (46%).

Farmers have seen their margins squeezed as a result of a fall in farm gate prices greater than the reduction in their costs, and in the past two years twice as many farmers have seen their profits declining, with 49% of respondents reporting declining profits.

Some 7% think the business may not survive – the highest figure in any year so far. In the dairy sector, the figure rises to 20% of dairy respondents, a rise from 3% in 2014.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “This year has seen British farming face massive challenges, not least of all falling farm gate prices, particularly within the dairy and arable sectors.

“Given the levels of volatility we have seen across the industry it is no surprise that we have seen farmer confidence in the negative. It shows very clearly that we are absolutely correct to urge Defra and RPA to make every effort to speed up delivery of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments and that we press processors and retailers for a fairer return for the high quality food farmers supply.

“Regulation remains the key blocker for our members’ confidence. This gives a clear message that government must to do all that it can to ease regulatory pressure. Confidence is critical because it influences investment and production intentions.

“If we want our farms to compete in an increasingly global market place and make the most of emerging export opportunities, we need government action rather than rhetoric when it comes to reducing red tape. This is why NFU is calling for action in 2016 to reduce the frequency of farm inspections and improve their co-ordination.

“Our research has shown that looking forward, farmers have a generally optimistic outlook on their medium-term prospects.

“The Government has a golden opportunity, in its 25year Food and Farming Strategy, to map the course for a more confident and profitable industry.

“The NFU urges Government, retailers and the public to back British farming to ensure this optimism is not misplaced,” added Mr Raymond.

The survey also found more farmers saying that they want to invest in diversification, training and energy efficiency in the three years to come.

These intentions appear to be backed by the higher levels of borrowing in agriculture registered during the first nine months of the year.

The Orwell Bridge has reopened this morning after 80mph winds battered Suffolk and brought its closure.

Several schools in Suffolk are to remain closed or open later this morning amid high winds.

Across Suffolk, dozens of bands, singers, solo acts, choirs and orchestras ply their trade on evenings and weekends as part of the county’s eclectic night time economy.

High winds have led to rail service cancellations including on the mainline from Suffolk and Essex to London and local routes between Sudbury and Marks Tey.

High winds have brought down overhead power cables leaving homes in many Suffolk and Essex communities without electricity.

A well known west Suffolk pub has suddenly closed its doors after the district council received a licence review application from police, stating the premises was ‘associated with serious crimes and disorder’.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24