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Farm incomes still ‘far from’ levels needed to sustain profitable industry

Total Income From Farming received a boost from the exchange rate in 2016


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Farm income ‘far from’ sustainable despite rise

Farm incomes were still ‘far from’ levels needed to sustain a profitable industry, despite a 1.5 per cent rise in 2016, according to NFU president Meurig Raymond.


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The Total Income From Farming (TIFF) figures showed an increase to £59m in 2016, but NFU president Meurig Raymond warned it was mainly down to the exchange rate boosting the value of farm payments.

 

Sterling


The weaker pound led to an increase of 18 per cent in the value of payments under the Basic Payment Scheme.


The horticulture sector saw a boost, with income rising in fruit, vegetables and plants by £546m and potato incomes increased by £171m to £716m. The rise was driven by increasing prices for most vegetables and fruits.


But these were offset by a decrease in wheat incomes of £437 million, milk of £401m and oilseed rape of £170m. The total value of outputs fell by 3.4 per cent to £23,548m.

 

Labour


Higher rates of pay also increased the cost of labour by £39m, which offset a slight decline in the number employed.


Mr Raymond said “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,” he added.


“They also highlight that we are living in volatile times, where the economic outlook can change on a daily basis.”


He called on the Government to make sure agricultural policy focused on productivity, mitigating volatility and environmental measures.

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