Total farm income in Scotland fell by £20m in 2009 largely as a result of the crash in the value of milk and grain.
Statistics released by the Scottish Government show Total Income From Farming (TIFF) fell to £589m between 2008 and 2009, a fall of 3.2% before inflation is accounted for. It comes on the back of an 8% decline in TIFF between 2007 and 2008, resulting in a cumulative fall in income to Scotland’s farmers of more than £75m in the past two years.
But true to the “up horn, down corn” saying, the figures showed a £77m rise in income from livestock which is by far the most valuable sector of Scotland’s farming industry.
The 2009 figures also highlighted the impact of the strong euro on Single Farm Payment (SFP) values, adding an extra £56.8m in support for the Scottish industry in comparison to 2008 .
NFU Scotland’s policy director Scott Walker described the figures as evidence of another turbulent year for the industry and emphasised the ongoing need for public support. He said: “Without the benefit of SFP and monies delivered through the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) the majority of Scottish farm businesses would have at best broken even or operated at a loss.”
The Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs secretary Richard Lochhead responded by saying his team was moving quickly to help farmers through difficult economic times. He added: “By the end of this month SFPs worth more than £500m will have been paid to 98% of farmers and LFASS payments worth about £34m will have been paid to more than half of eligible recipients.”