Mid-term farmer confidence hits all-time low as more certainty urged

More certainty for farmers needed as mid-term business confidence goes into the red
More certainty for farmers needed as mid-term business confidence goes into the red

Mid-term confidence has hit an all-time low and confidence for the next 12 months has also taken a hit, according to a new survey.

The NFU member survey of 750 farmers shows mid-term confidence, a three year outlook, has hit an all-time low since the survey began eight years ago.

The farming union has called for more clarity and certainty from Government to ensure farm businesses can be profitable, productive and progressive post-Brexit.

The survey also shows that twice as many farmers are going to reduce investment (20%) than increase investment (10%) because of uncertainty associated with Brexit.

The NFU President said farmer confidence is "absolutely critical" to the future of a profitable and productive food and farming sector.

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “These results are a clear signal that the lack of certainty is impacting business decisions right now and that, in turn, has the potential to make farm businesses less resilient for when the UK leaves the EU."

Clarity is needed

He said farming underpins vital rural communities and it is crucial farmers have the confidence to invest in their businesses to ensure they are able to continue supplying the country with safe, traceable British food, as well as caring for the countryside.

Mr Raymond continued: “The NFU has made clear it believes that farming has an extremely bright future but to get there farmers do need clarity on the business environment they will be working in after we leave the EU.

“As well as clarity in the short-term, farmers will need a domestic agricultural policy that allows them to be productive, profitable and progressive. The NFU has laid out how to do that in its vision for the future and is keen to work with Government to make that a reality.”

Volatility measures

The farming industry has said that a new domestic agricultural policy will need to have measures that manage farming’s exposure to commodity and input price volatility, as well as increasing productivity and farming’s role in environmental management.

The NFU President added: “Farming requires long-term planning, with decisions on what crops to plant and what livestock to produce being made years ahead. This means farmers need certainty as early as possible to ensure they can be viable businesses in the future.”