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NZ Farmer Confidence Hit by Brexit Vote

28 July 2016, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Farmer confidence has picked up slightly since surveyed last in January but remains weak, according to Federated Farmers’ July 2016 Farm Confidence Survey.

The survey was conducted immediately after the Brexit decision and this appears to have dampened farmer confidence in the global market, on top of their existing concerns about the domestic scene, president of Federated Farmers Dr William Rolleston says.

“The strength of the global economy, post Brexit, is weighing heavily on farmers’ expectations.

“So not surprisingly, 37.8 per cent of respondents told us commodity and farmgate prices were their biggest single concern.”

Other major areas of concern were regulation and compliance costs, health and safety requirements and resource management issues, especially freshwater management.

The survey showed farmers’ spending intentions for the coming year remain negative and have barely budged since the last survey in January.

In the area of debt reduction, a net 16.3 per cent of farmers expect to increase their debt rather than reduce it, which is a slight improvement from in the January survey.

Also not surprisingly, given the timing of the survey, the largest number of respondents (13.3 per cent) said they believed the government’s highest priority should be trade policy.

This included calls on it to negotiate new free trade agreements and to protect market access into the European Union and the United Kingdom post-Brexit.

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