Farmers’ mid-term confidence has hit an ‘all-time low’ as the uncertainty around Brexit continues, an NFU study has revealed.
The survey of 732 members recorded the lowest level of mid-term confidence since figures started to be collected in 2010.
Short-term confidence has also dropped by 19 points, reaching its lowest level since April 2016.
And one-in-five farmers are planning to decrease their investment over the next 12 months, citing Brexit as the reason.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “These results paint a very stark picture of the impact Brexit uncertainty is having on farm businesses.
“The unknowns of our future, from what the trading environment will look like or how farms will have access to a workforce from outside the UK, are making it almost impossible for any food-producing business to plan properly.
“Confidence to invest is crucial if we are to continue to serve the country, because farming is a long-term business.
“There will be British farmers out there lambing now with no guarantee about what market they will be selling into in three months’ time, let alone a year or two down the line.”
The NFU’s results were published shortly after European farming group Copa-Cogeca released its confidence index findings, which showed 84 per cent of UK farmers were concerned about rising input costs.
Before Christmas, Farmers Guardian’s State of UK Agriculture survey reported similar results, with short-term business confidence fairly high, but dropping beyond March 2019.
This study, with more than 1,100 respondents from across the UK, showed more than 60 per cent of farmers are already making changes to their business to ensure they are ‘Brexit-proof’.