Hill farm incomes fall to 5,300

14 September 1999

Hill farm incomes fall to £5,300

THE average income of British hill farmers in 1999 was likely to be no more than £5,500 in 1999, according to a survey by the National Farmers Union.

Ben Gill, the unions president, said that hill farmers safeguarded a treasured landscape but they were now an “endangered species”.

The union said livestock breeders are facing a poverty trap created by plummeting returns and a drastic fall in the value of animals.

Hill farm incomes are down an estimated 30% on last years already critically low levels, resulting in a drop of nearly two-thirds over the past two years.

But many fear there will no escape from the poverty trap.

Cull ewes are almost worthless.

Lamb prices have fallen by 25% on last year, and beef prices are currently 24% lower than they were before the emergency.

All of these problems have left few young people entering the industry and the average age of hill farmers is now 55 and rising.

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