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Country News - 2002

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Dire warning from NFU over "lost confidence"
Wednesday 19 June

Farmers have totally lost confidence in the future - and also in the Government's commitment to them, the NFU warned yesterday.

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.
Mr Gill complained: "By any assessment, our latest analysis of the current state of farming is shocking.

"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."

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