Survey Reveals Dairy Farmers Uncertain about Future of the Industry

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17th April 2013 16:02 - Food

DairyCo's Farmer Intentions Survey has found their industry in troubled waters – milk producers have lost confidence over the past year, while nearly one in 10 dairy farmers are considering quitting the sector in the next two years.

A mere 32% of the 1,230 UK farmers who took part in the study planned to increase production over the next few years, compared to 36% at the same time last year.

There has also been a noticeable increase in the proportion of farmers who are undecided on production levels two years into the future, due to continued uncertainty over operating conditions – the figure has jumped up from 5% in 2012 to 13% in 2013.

UK dairy farmers named high input costs, weather and milk prices as the most likely factors to impact on their businesses over the next 12 months - 22% are pessimistic about the short-term outlook compared to 43% who remain optimistic.

This uncertainty has resulted in 36% of farmers claiming they are undecided on investment plans for the next five years, representing a 12% increase from 2012. Furthermore, the number planning to invest nothing over the next five years has also jumped from 12% to 29% over the same time period.

David Handley of Farmers For Action commented on the findings: "It's stating the obvious that dairy farmers are disillusioned and don't know where the future lies. We need direction and leadership in the industry, but dairy farmers are getting so many mixed messages I can understand anyone being uncertain about the future."

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