By Farmers Weekly staff

ANNUAL income from Welsh farms has fallen from 206m to just under 40m during the past two years.

New provisional figures published by the Welsh Assembly show a 57% decline in total income from farming (TIFF) in 1999, repeating the previous years fall.

The dairy sector was particularly badly hit with the value of milk and dairy produce plummeting by almost 32m since 1997.

The value of finished sheep crashed from 283m in 1998 to 239m last year, and total livestock farming income declined by almost 35m.

Gross output at basic prices from all agricultural activities fell by nearly 60m in 1999 to just over 1bn, to which subsidies contributed 188m.

“These figures are appalling and reinforce our message that farming in Wales is in the grip of a terrible crisis,” said Arwyn Owen, the Farmers Union of Waless deputy director of policy.

The TIFF report came hot on the heels of net farm income data showing that Welsh farmers were trying to survive on an average income of 4500 supplemented by family income support payments.

Malcolm Thomas, director of NFU Cymru-Wales, said the governments own figures had again confirmed farmings dire crisis.

It was time the government and the National Assembly did something about the situation, he said.