Thursday, 9 June 2016

Brexit/Bremain: "The majority of farmers are keen to leave the Union and all the baggage that comes with it."

Farmers (at least, conventional farmers) feel they are under a lot of pressure:
Futures Forum: Lobbying over the Roundup weedkiller >>> again >>> crunchtime: Tuesday 14th June

The NFU has surveyed how farmers feel about the EU:
Exclusive: Survey reveals 58% of farmers back EU exit - Farmers Weekly
Analysis: Grass-roots farmers plan to vote 'leave' in EU referendum - Farmers Weekly

And as the latest Countryfile on BBC One showed, most farmers in the UK are for Brexit:
PM and Boris clash over EU fishing laws - BBC News
BBC One - Countryfile

Which is what comment across the media has noted:
Countryfile: Boris insists farmers will receive support after Brexit | UK | News | Daily Express
David Cameron and Boris Johnson target EU referendum voters on BBC's Countryfile  | Daily Mail Online
David Cameron and Boris Johnson go head to head for Devon and Cornwall's rural votes | Plymouth Herald

But things are not that clear:
EU referendum: National Farmers' Union backs staying in EU - BBC News
Survey reveals scepticism over level of Brexit farm support - Farmers Weekly

Here's an interesting comment from the farming consultants Andersons:

Currency, the Economy, Brexit and Farming 

With less than a month to go until the Brexit / Bremain decision, polls appear to be gradually shifting in favour of remaining in. Sterling has been gathering a little strength again, reflecting the eagerness of the City to stay in. Whilst most Britons are starting to feel a little more pro-Europe, one small sector of society, farming (representing barely 2% of the UK population) looks to be taking the opposite view. According to the Farmers Weekly, (and a few other studies) the majority of farmers are keen to leave the Union and all the baggage that comes with it. (However, it must be noted there may be an element of selection bias in some of these surveys as those in the ‘Leave’ camp seem more motivated, and likely to make their opinions known.) 

Considering the entire EU project was arguably built around an agricultural policy, and even now accounts for about 34% of EU budgetary spending, this might seem a surprise. This is particularly so as EU support accounts for over half of farm profits most years and will probably be nearer 75% this year. DEFRA has published a brief paper on the contribution of support to farm profits which can be found here - The role of CAP payments in farm income - Publications - GOV.UK

Some individuals have suggested farm support will remain at, or near, current levels, but there have been lots of alternative ideas on how to spend the savings from exit (e.g. healthcare, defence, border controls). Perhaps, EU red tape and bureaucracy is overbearing; it is a lot. Some farmers have considerable confidence that Westminster would do a less bureaucratic job. Perhaps. 

The strengthening of the Pound in response to shifting polls hampers agricultural prices in the short term. A weak currency makes exports (and imports) go up in value; good for farming in the short term. However, it is inflationary which tends to erode the benefits over the longer-term. On the subject of inflation, it has passed rather unnoticed that the oil price is now almost double the low point it reached in February. Political announcements from some of the major producers have triggered the recovery, and fuel prices are likely to increase. Gas prices remain subdued, however, which should be good news for fertiliser prices in the coming season.

Andersons Farm Business Consultants - Andersons Farm Business Consultants - Welcome

See also:
Futures Forum: "EU membership has greatly benefited the UK's nature and the environment." ... But "the Common Agriculture Policy has proved an environmental disaster."

No comments: