National Farmers' Union warns of farm income volatility

The agriculture industry needs mechanisms to help deal with increasing volatility. This is the message being delivered by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). 

The Union has issued this warning despite the fact that incomes have remained relatively stable through political uncertainty, fluctuating prices and currency values.

According to New Total Income From Farming figures from Defra, farmers’ profitability in the UK recorded an increase of 1.5% or £59 million in 2016 to £3.96bn. The NFU’s economics team claimed this has largely been driven by a fall in the value of the pound, which drove up the value of farm payments.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said the sector needed a government to introduce a domestic agricultural policy in order to build a more profitable farming industry by focusing on productivity, volatility mitigation and environmental measures.

“Although the overall profitability has recovered to certain degree, we are still far from seeing levels which will sustain a long-term and profitable farming industry,” said Raymond. “They also highlight that we are living in volatile times, where the economic outlook can change on a daily basis.

“With the general election coming up very soon and as we head towards Brexit, it is crucial that political parties set out clear policies that work for farm businesses, so we can ensure there is a profitable, productive and progressive agriculture and horticulture in the future.”

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