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    ‘Farmer confidence at record low’

    (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    Farmer confidence has reached record lows, with the NFU’s annual survey revealing 65 per cent of farmers have seen a decline in their profits, a long-running survey by the biggest farming union in Britain has found, with extreme weather and the post-Brexit phasing-out of EU subsidies blamed for the drop.

    The National Farmers’ Union warned there had been a “collapse of confidence” and that the outlook was at its lowest since the annual poll of its members in England and Wales began in 2010.

    Most farms are expecting to reduce food production next year, with arable farming particularly badly hit. Tom Bradshaw, the NFU’s president, pointed to extreme wet weather as key reason for the downturn.

    “Confidence is absolutely crucial to food production and food security of the country. Farms with confidence for the future will invest in the technology and infrastructure that delivers food production for the next generation and beyond.

    “Given the last 18 months of extreme weather and the culmination of the perfect storm of events many farmers simply believe the risk is too great to continue producing food. We need Government Ministers to recognise there is an immediate role for policy in rebuilding the confidence within the farming industry,” Bradshaw posted on social media.

    The annual survey of almost 800 farmers asks respondents to rate the prospects of their business. The survey revealed that 82 per cent had had their farms affected by the rain, with 30 per cent saying they had experienced very negative impacts.

    England’s wettest 18-month period since the Met Office began collecting data in 1836 has left farms across the country flooded, and many unable to plant crops.

    The phasing-out of EU basic payment scheme (BPS) subsidies is also reportedly

    The BPS payments were supposed to be replaced by the government’s own sustainable farming incentive (SFI) subsidies but the rollout of these has been delayed. Respondents to the survey identified this as one of the key issues shaping the year ahead, with 86% of farmers saying it would have a negative effect.

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