Farmers Optimism Levels Continue to Remain High in Spite of Political Uncertainty

Britain’s farmers are generally continuing to feel a similar level of optimistic about the future that they did last year, according to the survey conducted by MHA MacIntyre Hudson at this year’s Cereals event.

The survey is based on interviews with farmers from across the country occupying 50,000+ acres.

The consistency of general trends from the surveys taken at Cereals and Lamma collectively over the last six years is fairly representative of the key findings this year which are as follows:

  • 60% felt business growth would be moderate or high in the next year
  • Pricing remains the dominant concern, closely followed by cashflow
  • Succession planning remains a consistent matter of concern
  • Greater efficiency stays as the key driver for machinery purchase, with expansion, planned replacement and tax incentives lagging well behind.
  • 55% of farmers ignore the cost saving opportunities of co-operation of machinery sharing, which although is surprising, is also consistent with the figures published by DEFRA in October.
  • 84% knew of MTD, however it is still worrying that 16% did not bearing in mind the system has been compulsory for the most businesses since March!

Despite the smaller than usual attendance at Cereals this year due to the poor weather and the therefore small survey size, the survey still presents a reasonably accurate snapshot of attitudes and practices in the industry and is consistent with previous events where attendance was higher.

For us in particular it was pleasing to see that accountants continue to be the primary point of reference for agricultural decision makers with 42% choosing to contact their accountant first when advice is needed.

The next few months will be interesting with a change of political leader and the hopeful delivery of Brexit, and whether the changes outlined in the Agriculture Bill actually come into fruition, and how businesses end up reacting and responding.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.