The past three months have seen a dramatic fall in confidence among UK farming businesses, according to a Smiths Gore and CLA survey.

The Rural Economy Index measures confidence in the farming sector for the following 12 months. Results from quarter two of 2012 show farmers are increasingly worried by lack of investment, with a 25% fall in confidence compared to quarter one. Confidence is now at 1% from 26% three months ago.

“These findings clearly highlight how damaged the rural economy is becoming due to low confidence and investment,” said CLA deputy president Henry Robinson.

“These findings clearly highlight how damaged the rural economy is becoming due to low confidence and investment.”
CLA deputy president Henry Robinson

“The eurozone crisis, higher input costs, slow or no broadband and weak consumer confidence are hitting confidence in trading conditions, with the inability to secure capital funding the main reason for lack of investment,” he said.

“Although there are encouraging signs for non-agricultural businesses – six out of eight indicators having risen – a significant drop in expected investment is leading to a very weak position,” added Jason Beedell, head of research at Smiths Gore.