Farmer con­fi­dence falling as Brexit looms

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Advertiser Farming -

THE NFU has called on can­di­dates to make Brexit a suc­cess for Bri­tish farm­ers af­ter new sur­vey re­sults showed their con­fi­dence for the next three years has taken a sig­nif­i­cant knock.

The NFU sur­vey shows an 18-point drop in the last two years.

It says the po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment since the UK voted to leave the EU is a key driver for this fall in mid-term con­fi­dence.

NFU Pres­i­dent Meurig Ray­mond said it was un­nerv­ing to see the three year out­look drop as it has in the past been fairly re­silient and op­ti­mistic.

“Farmer con­fi­dence is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to the fu­ture of a prof­itable and pro­duc­tive food and farm­ing sec­tor.

“In such a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty po­lit­i­cally, we need politi­cians to fully un­der­stand the im­pact this lack of clar­ity is hav­ing eco­nom­i­cally.

“The out­look from farm­ers is pos­i­tive for the next 12 months due to the weak ster­ling, but we all know farm­ing busi­nesses are long-term and can­not rely on cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions.

“The gov­ern­ment elected later this week will need to take firm ac­tion to max­i­mize on the fu­ture po­ten­tial of Bri­tish food and farm­ing.’’

Mr Ray­mond added: “We need a com­pe­tent and re­li­able work­force, a fit for pur­pose do­mes­tic agri­cul­tural pol­icy and the right trade deals. And to ad­dress this de­bil­i­tat­ing un­cer­tainty, they need to give the in­dus­try as many as­sur­ances as pos­si­ble.”

In­vest­ment in­ten­tions which are also a good and early in­di­ca­tor of prof­itabil­ity, pro­duc­tion and how pro­gres­sive farm­ers can be, showed farm­ers were nearly twice as likely to be de­creas­ing in­vest­ment (20.1%) as a re­sult of the EU ref­er­en­dum than in­creas­ing in­vest­ment (10.7%) in the next 12 months.

Mr Ray­mond added: “In­vest­ment in farm­ing busi­nesses is in­te­gral to our abil­ity to pro­duce food ef­fi­ciently and sus­tain­ably, en­sur­ing food se­cu­rity and farm­ing’s huge con­tri­bu­tion to the health and wealth of the na­tion.

“With just 10% will­ing to in­crease in­vest­ment in their busi­ness, it does not paint a pretty pic­ture for the pro­gres­sive in­dus­try that we are striv­ing to be.

“But this is ex­actly why we’ll be work­ing closely with the newly-elected team at De­fra, to en­sure that in­vest­ment is a key part of a new do­mes­tic agri­cul­tural pol­icy.”

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