Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

NFU survey reveals decline in confidence among arable farmers

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.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Sir David Attenborough reopened the Abberton Reservoir for Essex and Suffolk Water and Essex Wildlife Trust. The reservoir has had an enormous amount of work done to it as a reservoir and as a wildlife habitat.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust today launches an ambitious £1million public appeal as part of a land purchase plan that is on a scale “unprecedented” in the nature charity’s long history.

Abnormal loads will be making their way along the roads of Suffolk over the next two weeks

Motorists in Suffolk are being warned to watch out for traffic delays as three abnormal loads slowly make their way along the county’s roads over the next two weeks.

Rebecca Haley

A girl from Stowmarket who attended a top private school in North Norfolk had watched a television series which featured depression and suicide before being found dead, an inquest heard.

The Oasis English Language Centre is based in Burlington Road, Ipswich.

Volunteer teachers are working to transform the lives of migrants and refugees in the most deprived areas of Ipswich as part of a newly established charity.

An agricultural vehicle broken down on a roundabout on the A12 near Martlesham. Photo: Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Team/Twitter

There is slow traffic on the A12 in Suffolk this afternoon because of a broken down vehicle.

Bury St Edmunds Conservative constituency candidates at the King Edward VI School last night for the election that will see the winner fight the next general election.
James Cleverly

Essex MP James Cleverly has said he will back the expansion of Heathrow despite being a long term critic of the plan.

Frankel welcomes guests to Newmarket National Heritage Centre

Her Majesty The Queen is to officially open the new £15million National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in the Suffolk town of Newmarket, where many of her own horses are trained and stabled.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24