UK - Farmer confidence in the dairy and livestock sectors has risen over the last year, with overall farmer confidence for 2017 rising by 12 points, a new survey by the NFU has revealed.
Dairy and livestock farmers have seen their confidence rise by 28 and 15 points respectively. The falling pound, increased commodity prices and export levels have created a more favourable environment for these sectors.
However, confidence has fallen in the horticulture and poultry sectors. There are serious concerns for both of these sectors with the prospect of labour shortages in the future and increase of the National Living Wage.
Farmers’ confidence for the next three years has taken a knock with a 6 point drop. The Brexit vote has left farmers uncertain how agricultural policy and future trade arrangements with the EU and third countries will look moving forward.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Increased farmer confidence comes after a year of huge challenges to the British farming industry and we are pleased that our members are feeling positive for the year to come. Any increase in price received for farmers is welcome news and we hope these are sustainable for years to come.
“It is no surprise that the Brexit vote has impacted the confidence of farmers in the longer-term and uncertainty surrounding our future relationship with the EU, our ability to negotiate future trade deals and access to non-UK labour has all taken its toll on confidence. “
Members told the NFU, as part of its seventh annual farmer confidence survey, they anticipated positive effects on their business from the consumption levels of British produce (58 per cent) and output prices (46 per cent). However, farmers feel that input prices will have the most widespread negative impact for the coming year (74 per cent negative), followed by regulation and legislation (53 per cent negative).
With respondents stating increased requests for borrowing over the past two years (42 per cent requested a form of lending), this indicates that many farm businesses remain under pressure. Member confidence in bank support for future borrowing is at its lowest level since 2013.
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