Unveiling the latest dire analysis of the current state of farming, the UK Agricultural Review: Farming in Crisis, NFU President Ben Gill said the Government must assist the industry in next month's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
The dramatic figures include:
- 60,000 farmers and workers have left the industry since 1998.
- The average farmer has just £10,000 a year for reinvestment and to live on - way below the minimum wage. Overall farm incomes are down 71% since 1995 and current indications suggest further falls in the coming year.
- Between 1997 and 2000, the value of farmers' assets plunged by £1 billion while their debts rose by £700 million.
"All our anecdotal evidence suggests that further large numbers of farmers and growers are going to quit the industry - either because they have to or because they see no future.
"Never have I experienced so many in agriculture questioning their future and the Government's commitment to it. Against this background, the Government must take every conceivable step in the CSR towards positive solutions."