Responding to the publication of the 2018/19 Farm Business Income forecast figures, NFU chief economics adviser Dr Andrew Francis said: “The decrease in Farm Business Income clearly highlights just how exposed agriculture is to market volatility and emphasises the continued need for measures to manage this.
“The NFU has set out its ambition for farms to be productive, profitable and progressive and for farmers to have access to a variety of tools to combat volatility in the marketplace. We are making that case to Government as the Agriculture Bill goes through Parliament and today’s figures reinforce the risks a volatile market poses for certain sectors.
“This year is set to be incredibly challenging for farmers and the continued uncertainty is already impacting farm businesses. The NFU has maintained that it is vital a deal is agreed with the EU to ensure there is an orderly Brexit and we have been clear about what we believe are the crucial elements of a healthy and productive post-Brexit future for British farming.
“The NFU continues to urge the government to take all the necessary steps to achieve a deal with the EU, that meet the NFU’s six principles agreed at an Extraordinary meeting of its Council in December.
“A no-deal Brexit and its impacts would be catastrophic for the food and farming sector. For example, if the government took the position to unilaterally lower import tariffs on food, this could lead to food coming into the country which may have been produced to lower standards than are legally required here.
“We know that the public values and demands the high standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety that British farmers deliver. If the Government allows sub-standard food imports to undercut British farmers, that could have very serious implications for the supply of the safe, traceable and affordable food British farming provides for the nation.”
The Farm Business Income forecast for 2018/19 shows that all farm sectors have seen a decrease in income, except for Cereals.
The decreases are largely attributable to the rise in input costs, particularly feed costs.
The increase in the Cereals sector is due to increased cereal prices, driven by increased demand as a result of the dry weather in 2018.