Farm incomes down by 15% in 2018

Figures released on 14th December by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), suggest that farm incomes for 2018 will be down by £861m, a reduction of over 15% from 2017.

Total income from farming (TFI) is a measure of farm profitability, which assesses the return to farming businesses before proprietors’ own labour cost, deemed interest or deemed rent. As such it will be broadly similar to the profit figures shown in a set of partnership or sole trader’s normal financial accounts.

During 2018, DEFRA saw a modest increase (3%) in the value of livestock sales and a 1% decrease in the value of arable crops, but these were more than outweighed by a 6% increase in direct costs (seed, feed, sprays etc.) and continuing increases in overheads (which are not fully analysed within this preliminary report).

Commenting on the news, our Rural partner John Billings said

“Coming against a backdrop of future reductions in direct subsidies, and uncertainty as to commodity pricing post Brexit, this report underlines again the need for clarity from government. We know that we are moving into an era of “public money for public goods” but farmers need to know just how much public money will flow into the proposed Environmental Land Management schemes so that they can make appropriate long-term plans”.

You can read the full report here.

Get in touch with a member of our Agriculture and Rural Business team on 01903 234094 if you would like to discuss these figures in the context of your business.

A version of this blog originally appeared on the website of one of our MHA association member firms, MHA Monahans.