Farmer confidence in the livestock and dairy sectors has risen over the last year, according to the results of a new survey commissioned by the NFU.
While the falling pound, increased commodity prices and export levels have created a more favourable environment for both these sectors, however, serious concerns over the prospect of future labour shortages have hit confidence levels across the horticulture and poultry sectors.
“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,” said NFU President, Meurig Raymond, while noting that the Brexit vote has left farmers uncertain how agricultural policy and future trade arrangements with the EU and third countries will look moving forward.
“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. “
Survey respondents to what was the NFU’s seventh annual farmer confidence survey, revealed an anticipation of positive effects on their business from future consumption levels of British produce (58%) and output prices (46%). However, farmers feel that input prices will have the most widespread negative impact for the coming year (74% negative), followed by regulation and legislation (53% negative).
“The NFU has made it clear that for farming to have a profitable and productive future we need reassurance on key issues resulting from Brexit; such as access to a competent and reliable workforce and the best possible access to the Single Market,” said Mr Raymond (pictured above).
“British farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector – food and drink. The sector is worth £108 billion to the nation’s economy and employs some 3.9 million people. We urge Government, retailers and the public to back British farming so we can continue to produce high quality produce for the nation.”