CommentCentral, May 20, Catherine McBride
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has already paid for research into the realities of modern farming, although they have mainly used its most negative findings to convince the Government to continue UK farm subsidies and the gangmaster visas system for importing seasonal labourers.
However, if we look at each commodity sector’s Farm Business Income (FBI) base case used in the Agribusiness Consulting Informa’s technical report for the AHDB, we see that some agricultural sectors in the UK are much more profitable than others – dramatically so. Even though FBI includes EU CAP payments and the benefits of cheap imported labour, there are some sectors and productivity levels that still lose money. This is not due to trade with Australia. In any other industry, such failing businesses would have been forced out of the market and their land and equipment bought by more efficient farmers or consolidated into neighbouring farms.
The average FBI for UK Dairy farms is over 4 times that of a lowland sheep and beef farm; the average FBI on General Cropping farms is almost 4 times as high; average Pig farm FBI is almost 3 times as high, Cereal farming FBI is over two and a half time as high, and Horticultural FBI is twice as high. Incredibly even the sheep and beef farms on so called ‘Less Favoured Areas’ (LFA) have an average FBI above that of the average Lowland sheep and beef farmer in the UK.
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