The NFU is warning that the industry needs mechanisms in place to deal with increasingly volatility, despite incomes remaining relatively stable through 12 months of political uncertainty, fluctuating prices and currency values.
New Total Income From Farming figures from Defra (TIFF) show UK farming’s profitability recorded an increase of 1.5% or £59 million in 2016 to £3.96 billion, following a sharp downturn in 2015. The NFU economics team say this has mostly been driven by a fall in the value of the pound, which drove up the value of farm payments.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said that in a time of uncertainty, agriculture needed a Government that would introduce a domestic agricultural policy to build a more profitable farming industry, by focusing on productivity, volatility mitigation and environmental measures.
“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,” said Mr Raymond. “They also highlight that we are living in volatile times, where the economic outlook can change on a daily basis.
“With the General Election coming up very soon and as we head towards Brexit, it is crucial that political parties set out clear policies that work for farm businesses so we can ensure there is a profitable, productive and progressive agriculture and horticulture in the future.”