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An uncertain future for farming

  • by JW

“Facing a rollercoaster of profitability”

“The government and ministers needs to create an agriculture policy which had a resilient food supply chain ‘at its heart’.”


The present of the National Farmers’ Union warns that the future of the industry all depended on farming businesses being ‘profitable and resilient’:

The government needs to ‘get serious’ about British farming in 2022 against the backdrop of the labour crisis, soaring input costs and Brexit trade deals, the NFU president has said.

In her New Year message, Minette Batters said the past 12 months had been ‘extraordinary’ for the industry due to multiple challenges and crises. These include the ongoing pandemic, rising input costs, the workforce shortage and the impact of the UK’s free trade agreements with countries producing to lower standards.

“We can drive the rural economy, enhance our natural environment, contribute to net zero targets and care for our cherished countryside, all while producing more home-grown, local food for shop shelves.” But she said the next 12 months would lay the foundations for a thriving food and farming sector, where farmers were competitive both at home and abroad. To spearhead this, the government and ministers needed to create an agriculture policy which had a resilient food supply chain ‘at its heart’.

Government needs to ‘get serious’ about UK farming in 2022 – FarmingUK News

The farming business consultants Anderson have given their annual prognosis, with their Outlook 2022 accessible by clicking here.

Devon Live reviews the report:

Farming will continue to face a “rollercoaster of profitability” in 2022 as robust market prices are coupled with rapidly rising input costs. Profits from UK farming will recover in 2021 after the downturn of 2020, according to the latest Andersons Outlook 2022, however prospects for the coming year are “less positive” as cost increases look set to shave returns off farm business accounts. The annual publication, widely regarded as a comprehensive review of the domestic farming industry, adds that the 2020 year saw overall UK farm profitability reduced by the twin effects of the weather and Covid-19.

British farmers must gear up for profits ‘rollercoaster’ ride in 2022, Outlook report warns – Devon Live

Outlook 2022: Mounting pressure for sheep farmers to improve or leave industry amid subsidy payment cuts – Devon Live

Here’s another solid analysis of the way farming seems to be going – again from the NFU:

A joint food industry report, published in August, highlighted an average vacancy rate of 13pc across the food chain, from farm to fork, and estimated there were more than 500,000 vacancies across food and drink businesses…

We’re also calling for an urgent review of Defra’s Future Farming Programme for England, including the temporary postponement of direct payment subsidy reductions in 2022 and 2023, as farmers and growers continue to deal with multiple challenges which are causing severe disruptions to food producing businesses…

The government’s new Sustainable Farming Incentive, for example, must acknowledge the significant costs farmers could incur in delivering “public goods” and recognise that in the payment rates, at a time when direct payments are being phased out…

If we’re to meet the NFU’s ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040 we must use 2022 to build on the progress that’s already been made. And we need concerted support from government, industry and other key groups to help deliver this carbon neutral goal.

Five fundamental challenges facing farmers in 2022  | Eastern Daily Press

The Telegraph is more upbeat (paywall):

Farmers to be paid to restore natural habitats in push to rewild |

But the Farmers’ Weekly isn’t:

Analysis: Rising input costs biggest worry for farmers – Farmers Weekly

Nor is Cumbrian shepherd James Rebanks writing in the FT (paywall):

Farmer-writer James Rebanks: ‘The older I get, I think, cut yourself some slack’ |