Tag Archives: NFU

Farmers Face 52% Income Loss

Farmers affected by the poor weather and the squeeze by on farmgate prices, could face a huge drop in income this coming year, reports Farmers Weekly, quoting DEFRA research.

The figures make sobering reading and surely must be a catalyst for change – how can any business be expected to continue to produce at no profit? The wider public must surely look beyond cheap food, and supermarkets must look at a fairer profit distribution.                                                              Wet_farmland_

Commenting on the research, NFU chief economist Phil Bicknell, said:

“Wheat yield and quality were hit by the weather, while it’s been well documented that rising costs outstripped farmgate price changes for dairy and pork producers at times during the past year. More recently, we can add the plummeting lamb price to the list of challenges the industry faces.

“The weather caused chaos across the board and has laid bare the importance of CAP payments. With profits squeezed, a larger number of farmers will again be forced to rely on CAP’s direct payments to underpin their business in the year ahead.

“Falling farm income data shatters the myth that high commodity prices would mean high profits. Farmers cannot produce at little or no profit indefinitely; they need to turn a profit and they need to re-invest. The reality is that price volatility, low profitability and falling confidence does not provide a secure framework for a sustainable food industry. These figures should be a wake-up call for us all. Managing risk and volatility are key and that must be recognised by both the government in its CAP negotiations and in pricing decisions taken by the food chain.”

Farmers facing hardship may contact the Rural Stress Helpline or the The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) who can offer advice and assistance.

The Farming Weekly article is here.

Agricultural Jobs given French Polish!

  The French farming industry has launched a TV advertising campaign in order to attract people into agriculture.

FNSEA, the NFU’s counterpart in France, has come out with a series of very short television adverts to promote the industry.

The strapline, which translates to ‘farming jobs are in fashion’, aims to highlight that jobs in farming are diverse and that there are opportunities for people of all age groups.

The adverts feature a sheep with a mohican haircut and a cow with a ghetto blaster wearing sunglasses!

Source: Farmers Weekly Interactive

TV Chefs back ‘Honest Food Campaign’

The Conservatives’ new Honest Food Campaign  was launched yesterday at the National Farmers’ Union annual conference, by  Nick Herbert, the Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary.

The campaign which calls for an end to misleading food labels, has the backing of  TV chefs Antony Worrall-Thompson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The chefs believe that a clearer labelling system which shows the country-of-origin, to help shoppers buy British food.

Current legislation has a loop-hole that allows foreign meat processed in Britain, to be labelled as British.  This means that some ready meals, for instance, that have been processed and packaged in this country, may contain meat and chicken from anywhere in the world.

The Conservatives are pushing a Bill to make country of origin labelling mandatory, and claim that clearer labelling will:

Allow consumers to make informed choices about the food they buy
Prevent non-British meat being labelled as British
Support British producers by allowing consumers to identify genuine British meat;
Promote superior British produce by highlighting the advantages of British produce
Restore trust and confidence in British food and labelling in general

Nick Herbert, “People have a right to know where their food comes from. Meat labelled ‘British’ should be born and bred in Britain, raised to our high welfare standards.”

NFU’s ‘New Agenda for Farming Conference’

New Agenda For FarmingThe annual NFU conference, this year themed ‘The New Agenda for Farming’ kicks off in Birmingham next Monday, and upbeat NFU president Peter Kendall is to call on the government to ‘put its money where its mouth is when it comes to farming.’

Mr Kendall’s slot is directly before DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn, who signalled a more progressive attitude towards farmers when he spoke at last month’s Oxford Farming Conference.

“There was lots of really good stuff about Oxford,” says Mr Kendall. “What we want to do is pick up on that and set out the agenda we want to see for farming. We want to set out where farming has come from and show where it needs to go.”

In particular, he highlights Mr Benn’s “no ifs, not buts” Oxford insistence that the government wants British farmers to produce as much food as possible – so long as doing so sustains the environment and safeguards the landscape.

The government is at last starting to acknowledge the importance of agriculture, believes Mr Kendall, especially when it comes to food security. The view of Britain as a rich country that can buy itself out of trouble is crumbling, he adds.

“DEFRA is starting to make a lot of noises about food production being important. We want to make sure we have an input into government policy that means farming has a better chance of being successful and thriving.”

Mr Benn’s speech is not the only sign that the government has finally woken up to the potential of British agriculture. Just before Christmas, the Home Office increased the number of work permits for migrant farm workers by 5000.

The number of workers entering Britain under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme had been restricted to 16,250. But the number will rise to 21,250 this year in a bid to overcome a labour shortage that had seen crops left unharvested, states the Farmers Weekly