Defra releases farm business income forecasts

The volatility farmers continue to face are shown in the provisional figures of the 2020/2021 Farm Business Income report.

While some farmers are expected to see an increase in income, particularly within the livestock and poultry sectors, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs anticipates a drop in income of 43% for cereals businesses, 35% for crop businesses and 10% for dairy businesses.

Tom Bradshaw, NFU vice president (pictured), said: “The decreases in income that many farmers are currently experiencing, while expected after such a difficult year, will be a huge blow as farmers become increasingly concerned about their bottom line, especially as they also face reductions in BPS farm support payments later this year.

“We all know that income can vary from sector to sector, region to region and year to year. Volatility is something farmers are well versed in managing but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, especially while there is so much uncertainty about the future and how farm support schemes will operate.”

Industry uncertainty was revealed in the NFU’s recent business survey, which showed confidence is already low among farmers, largely due to the changes in agricultural policy and the continued lack of clarity as to what the new schemes will require of farmers and how they will fill the income gap.

Mr Bradshaw added: “It’s therefore crucial that the Agricultural Transition Plan not only supports farming in the move from BPS to ELMs, but also provides the productivity improving measures, such as grants and investment in R&D, it has promised so we can build resilience, profitability and sustainability across all sectors.”

The final farm business income results are due to come out in October 2021.

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