13 July 2001


ALL farm types in north-east England are suffering lack of profitability, but lowland grassland and arable units are the worst hit, warns a report by the University of Newcastles Centre for Rural Economy.

Only lowland dairy and hill rearing farms showed a positive return on investment and about one-third of all farms had an income below £10,000/year. About one-third of farm households also relied totally on farm incomes, although working away from the farm contributed 16% to the household budget.

Diversification enterprises contributed only 8.2% of income, but proved popular with farmers.

Asked about their plans for the next 10 years, just 28% of the regions farmers expected to maintain their current position. A further 3.5% planned to reduce their workload, but 11.7% hoped their businesses would expand. A similar number, 11.3% said they planned to stop farming over the next decade.

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