29 January 1999
Farm incomes down 48% — NFU

By FWi staff

GOVERNMENT figures show farmers incomes fell 48% last year, with the livestock sector bearing the brunt of the crisis in agriculture, says the NFU.

Cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and mixed farmers all suffered heavy losses as £900 million was wiped off returns compared with 1997.

Incomes totalled about £2.1bn last year, compared with just over £3bn in 1997 and £4.8bn in 1996.

The Ministry of Agriculture said total farm incomes fell 32% in real terms, but that reached 48% when the cost of family labour was taken into account.

Lowland beef and sheep farmers saw incomes plummet by 378%; pig and poultry producers by 174%; and mixed farms by 37%. Dairy returns were down by 41%.

Incomes on livestock hill farms slumped by 37%.

Both the National Farmers Union and the Scottish NFU issued strongly worded statements urging the need for assistance.