But dairy farmers are less positive about their business prospects than their beef and sheep producing counterparts, due to falling profits and higher levels of outstanding investment.
Of the 300-plus dairy and livestock farmers who took part, some 68% described their attitudes to their businesses as either “fairly positive” or “very positive”.
A variety of reasons were given as to why they felt this way, but the majority (79%) said that they still enjoyed farming, while almost half (43%) said they liked the challenge.
But there were significant differences in the attitudes of farmers according to the type of production they were involved in.
For example, 77% of sheep farmers said they were either “fairly” or “very” positive about their businesses. But this fell to 65% in the case of beef farmers and just 55% for dairy farmers.
Probing a bit deeper, it is easy to understand why dairy farmers are feeling less optimistic.
While, for the survey group as whole, a third of farmers said their profitability had declined over the past 12 months, for dairy farmers this came to more than half (52%).
Dairy farmers also face the highest level of investment in the next few years, which is fuelling their more pessimistic outlook. For example, 38% of milk producers are looking to spend more than £30,000 on their businesses (particularly in response to the new nitrates rules), compared with 33% of beef farmers and 16% of sheep producers.
The findings were presented by Farmers Weekly editor Jane King at today’s (Tuesday) Dairy UKTaking the Bull by the Horns conference at Stoneleigh.
Read the full report of the Farmers Weekly/RABDF survey,
Farmers can also discuss the findings on Farmers Weekly’s stand at the Dairy Event 2009