New research from Development Economics has found every £1 invested in farm support delivers a £7.40 return for the economy.
The study was commissioned by the NFU to impress upon the Government the importance of the farming sector ahead of the triggering of Article 50.
It has placed a monetary value on the total contribution of farming to the UK economy and society for the first time.
Researchers arrived at the figure by weighing the costs of agriculture, such as subsidy payments, soil, water and air costs and greenhouse gas emissions against the value of tourism, renewable energy production, carbon sequestration and habitat and species protection – as well as more easily measured contributions such as agriculture’s Gross Value Added to the UK economy and the sector’s purchase of goods and services.
Steve Lucas, managing director of Development Economics, said: “This is an important moment in the debate around EU negotiations. For the first time, we have calculated the total contribution of agriculture to the UK economy and society.
“This shows how critical farming is to the country and why the Government must prioritise the sector during Brexit negotiations.”
NFU president Meurig Raymond welcomed the research, saying it demonstrated public money injected into UK farming was ‘invested wisely’.
He also called on Ministers to secure the right trade and labour conditions for the sector in order to ensure greater returns are delivered in future.
“Farmers are proud to produce food for a growing population, but go above and beyond this, playing a huge role in contributing to the wealth and prosperity of the country”, he added.
“With this report, we can look at the economic impact agriculture has already made. But it is clear farming could have a very different path carved for its future – and it will be up to Government to do this in the formal negotiations. A future domestic agricultural policy has got to work for Britain.”