The latest news from Farmweb
The Government has committed to maintain the existing level of support to farmers, in cash terms, until the end of this parliament and has said that the current proportion of that cash, i.e.12%, will continue to be used for rural development and stewardship schemes until at least 2020. The future subsidy regime will lean more towards benefits to the environment and the public rather than how much land is owned, a move supported by the CLA.
North Wales Police, together with NFU Cymru are the latest force to announce an initiative to combat rural crime. They are highlighting the main causes of concern to farmers, namely vehicle and equipment theft, rustling and fly-tipping.
A report from NatWest shows the barriers faced by young entrants into farming and the uncertain future of existing family farms. Only around 13% of farmers are under the age of 45 and less than 40% of farming families have a succession plan in place. It argues that younger farmers are needed to take full advantage of changing technologies as farming struggles to match the pace of change in industry.
The average value of farmland, in England and Wales, fell by 1.7% to £7,313 an acre, in the second quarter of 2017, taking the fall over the last twelve months to 6%. The market remains generally quiet with less interest in upland and more marginal farms because of their heavier reliance on subsidies.
The 2017 Rural Business Awards shows the depth of diversification with hundreds of entries across 52 counties. Food and tourism based businesses are popular but the range is wide with engineering, clothing, healthcare, equestrian, energy generators and distilleries all featuring.
With butter and cream prices remaining high over the last three months, producers are finally beginning to see the benefit. Farmgate prices are edging up towards 30p/litre with Dairy Crest at 29p and Arla at 29.98p. The milk futures market looks strong, indicating that further rises are likely in the coming months with prices rising to levels not seen since August 2013.
Firm demand and tighter supplies have resulted in EU pig meat prices rising 12% in the last twelve months to their highest level for four years. However, the higher prices are impacting on the export market with supplies from the two main competitors, Brazil and the USA being 10% cheaper with the latter planning increased production levels. Exports to China and Hong Kong have already fallen by 15% this year.