Bad weather, rising input costs and a knock to consumer confidence are the key issues affecting Scottish farmers, according to delegates at NFU Scotland’s conference and AGM.
Speaking to Farmers Weekly at the event in St Andrews, Fife, farmers shared their views on the what they think is the biggest issue in Scottish agriculture at the moment.
Newly-elected NFUS vice president, and former livestock board chairman, Rob Livesey said farmers were still reeling after a washout 2012.
“The one big issue that’s affecting farmers in Scotland this year is the weather. It’s the worst weather we have ever seen. An early spring would be an absolute godsend to every Scottish farmer and I suspect that’s the case for every British farmer,” he said.
Securing and maintaining consumer confidence in Scottish produce was the biggest issue affecting Scottish farmers at the moment, said Quality Meat Scotland chairman Jim McLaren.
“The one big issue that’s affecting farmers in Scotland this year is the weather. It’s the worst weather we have ever seen. An early spring would be an absolute godsend to every Scottish farmer and I suspect that’s the case for every British farmer.”
Rob Livesey, NFUS vice president
He said: “Without our customers’ support, we won’t have an industry. I passionately believe customers are right behind us with Scotch and long may that continue.
“But we must not rest on our laurels and we have to make sure consumers absolutely understand what is behind the labels that say Scotch.”
Farmers Weekly livestock farmer focus writer Iain Green, who farms in Morayshire, said rising input costs were a huge concern.
“The major issue is continual rising costs – feed, fuel and fertiliser – the three ‘Fs’. There’s a huge rise in costs with them and I find all we’re doing is spending more money for less profit,” he said.
“The biggest worry I have is that the housewife won’t be able to afford the extra cost that food will be in the future.”