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Livestock farmers more likely to have voted leave in EU referendum, research finds

Livestock farmers are more likely than their arable counterparts to have voted leave in the EU referendum, a new study has found.  

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Livestock farmers more likely to have voted leave in EU referendum, research finds

The research, ‘Understanding UK farmers’ Brexit voting decision: A behavioural approach’, showed dairy farmers were the most pro-Brexit, with 58 per cent of respondents reporting they voted leave, compared to 38 per cent voting remain and 4 per cent not voting.

 

Pig and poultry farmers were the next most likely to have voted leave, followed by upland livestock farmers.

 

Cereal farmers were most pro-EU, with 50 per cent of those surveyed voting remain, compared to 47 per cent voting leave and 3 per cent not voting.

 

But the study also showed farmers in general voted in line with the rest of the general population, disproving the myth that those working in agriculture were heavily pro-Brexit.

 

It reads: “Of the study population, half stated they voted to leave, 45 per cent stated they voted to remain and 5 per cent stated they did not vote.


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“Thus of those who voted in the survey population, 52.6 per cent voted to leave while 47.4 per cent voted to remain.

 

“This is in line with the national results of 51.9 per cent voting to leave, while 48.1 per cent voted to remain.”

 

Other results from the research found female farmers and those with a degree or postgraduate qualification were more likely to have voted remain.

 

However, the authors noted that other national research showed graduates who lived in ‘low-skilled communities’ were more likely to vote for Brexit than those in ‘high-skilled communities’.

 

Left behind

 

“Thus the differential seen in this study may not be a reflection of education level, but instead reflect a sense of being left behind as individuals or communities,” the study said.

 

Small farmers were also found to have been more likely to have voted remain.

 

The research claimed this may have been because these farmers felt they were too small to benefit from any change and they lacked trust in market relationships.

 

The study reads: “For the small farmers in this study, remaining in the EU may be an option to secure themselves within a power dynamic and ensure some income via EU subsidy payments.”

 

Category (percentage of farmers in each category in brackets) Leave Did not vote Remain
Cereals (13 per cent) 42 9 49
Dairy (21 per cent) 58 4 38
General cropping (6 per cent) 47 3 50
Lowland grazing livestock (16 per cent) 50 5 45
Upland grazing livestock (10 per cent) 52 2 46
Mixed (28 per cent) 46 5 49
Pigs/poultry (3 per cent) 53 13 34
Other (3 per cent) 50 0 50
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