NFU welcomes increase in farm incomes

UK - The NFU today welcomed the news from Defra of a forecasted increase in the Total Income from Farming (TIFF) for 2003.
calendar icon 28 November 2003
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TIFF represents the income to farmers, partners, directors, their spouses and most other family workers.

The provisional figures estimate TIFF will increase by 34% in 2003, a rise of 30% in real terms, to 33.23 billion, some 3750 million over last year’s figure of 32.48 billion.

But while TIFF is expected to be up 77% from the lowest level reached in 2000, it is still 50% down on the peak in 1995. Crucially, for many producers, a sustained level of profitability has not yet been achieved.

This would bring income back to the sort of levels seen in the late 1980s. Improvements in prices across most commodities, especially for cereals and oilseeds, and a stronger Euro have helped boost desperately low incomes.

TIFF per head has increased by 35% in real terms - from 311,700 in 2002 to 315,800 in 2003 - reflecting the continuing reduction in the number of farmers.

NFU President Sir Ben Gill said: “Farmers have worked extremely hard to build their businesses and return them to profitability so it is encouraging to see that the forecast figures are finally moving in the right direction.

“However, given the extent of the collapse of farm incomes over the latter half of the 1990s, large percentage increases during a recovery are to be expected.

“It is important to note that, while the NFU whole-heartedly welcomes the improved income situation, this only shows a recovery to where we were back in 1997 and for many producers a sustainable level of profitability has not yet been reached.

“Regarding the income per head figure, it is especially important here to recall that this figure is partly inflated by the further sharp fall in farmers and farm workers this year. The industry will need to continue its hard work to improve further and to maintain these welcome improvements.“

Source: National Farmers Union - 27th November 2003

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