29 November 2001
Britain’s farm crisis may be easing

By Isabel Davies

FARM incomes are forecast to increase by 17% this year, and the number of people leaving the industry is slowing, reveal government statistics.

UK income figures in 2001 rose to 8267 per farmer, from last years low of 7100, according to statistics released on Thursday (29 November).

A separate set of statistics reveals that 5600 farmers and farm workers left the agricultural industry in England last year.

These statistics indicate losses are at least slowing – over the previous two years, 41,100 people quit the industry.

As expected, the biggest drop in job loss figures was in the farm worker category which was down 4.7% to 6700.

But this drop was offset by an small increase in part-time farmers and a larger increase in the number of salaried managers.

The number of part-time farmers rose by 1300 and the number of salaried managers rose by 22.9%, from 9900 to 12,100.

This leaves the total labour force, including farmers and their spouses, down an average of 1.5% at 368,300.

Notes accompanying the figures says foot-and-mouth reduced the sample size this year, so the figures may be subject to greater variability than usual.

Farms which had stock culled were not sent a 2001 June census form.

An assumption was made that labour trends on those farms would follow the same pattern as on unaffected holdings.

Figures for the whole of the UK will not be available until January 2002.