Diversification revenue tops 3100 million as farmers' incomes rise again

by 5m Editor
29 January 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Farmers' incomes are at their highest level since 1997, following the third annual increase in a row. Total UK income from farming rose by 32 per cent in 2003 to 33.2 billion compared to 32.49 billion in 2002, according to official figures released by Defra today.

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Defra also published today a report on diversification by farmers. A Farm Business Survey shows that diversification earnings in England have topped the 3100 million mark for the first time, and that:

  • more than half (56 per cent) of full-time farmers have diversified
  • average earnings in 2002-3 from diversification were 31,800 per farm, up 30 per cent on the previous year
  • 1,800 farms had annual turnover of more than 350,000 from diversified business
  • 3,600 farms had turnover of 320,000 - 350,000

An estimated 70 per cent of farming households supplement their income by diversifying into other activities or through outside work. More than half of all farms have diversified activities and one in four farmers or their spouses have outside jobs, according to research.

Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty said,

'This increase in incomes is good news, especially when the increasing levels of diversification by farmers into other activities is taken into account.

'We need competitive farmers and food producers. Government investment will continue to help them to improve performance, and we are working together to lay the foundations for a sustainable and profitable future for the rural economy.'

Further information

For more information on funding opportunities for diversification projects please see Defra's pages on the Rural Enterprise Scheme.

Notes on statistics used
UK farm income figures are produced using information from Defra, the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland).

Total Income from Farming is income generated by production within the agriculture industry, including subsidies.

More detailed information will be provided in Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2003 which will be published later this year.

For further statistical information please see the following links:
A statistical press release containing information on diversification in England from various sources is available at:

A statistical notice containing information on diversification in England from the annual agricultural and horticultural census is available at:

A statistical notice containing total income from farming and net farm income results is available at:

Source: Defra - 29th January 2004

5m Editor