Welsh farmers still troubled by SFP

MORE THAN half of Welsh farmers believe their businesses will suffer under the single farm payment regime, new research from ADAS Wales shows.

The Farmers’ Voice 2005 survey revealed that 70% questioned were uncertain of the impact of CAP reform or how they would adapt their businesses to cope.

ADAS Wales managing director John Cook said buoyant livestock prices in recent months meant farm cashflows were still in good shape.

“When IACS payments were introduced, grain prices remained bullish for most of that season.”

On the back of this, some farmers expanded or took on farm business tenancies at expensive rents. But subsequently, grain values fell.

“Stock values have been reasonably strong and the real effects of living with the SFP will kick in later for many stock farmers,” he said.

It was essential that farmers treated the single farm payment as entirely separate from their enterprise margins, he added.

“Farmers must prepare for further reforms to the CAP. Globally, and within Europe, there is a growing commitment to reforming EU trade subsidies.”

Over half of Welsh farmers expected to have to make significant changes to their businesses during the next decade.

“About 35% of Welsh farmers believe they will have to develop other income streams,” said Mr Cook.

Of those Welsh farmers that had already diversified, almost 40% gained more than a third of their income from non-farming activities – 10% more than the national average.