Scotlandâ€™s farming incomes has fallen by a fifth from the 2011 high
NewsFriday 01 February 2013
New figures have revealed that Scotland’s farming incomes have fallen by almost a fifth in real terms over the past year.
The initial estimates have suggested that the total income from farming across Scotland has dropped £111m to £635m last year.
This means the income has fallen 15% on the 2011 total, before accounting for inflation, or, in real terms, it has fallen 19%.
2011 incomes were at an all time high, however, last year the average farm business income fell £1,000 to just £45,000.
Richard Lochhead, the Rural Affairs Secretary, said that increased costs, such as fuel and fertiliser costs, were partly to blame for the fall last year.
He also suggested that another factor was the changes to the exchange rate, which also reduced the value of European payments made under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
He went on to say: “Given the many factors that together made life more difficult for the industry in 2012, it might not be surprising, but it is still disappointing that the income figures have fallen back from last year's highest-ever position.
"These figures illustrate the impact on incomes that have resulted from poor weather, rocketing input costs and a decline from last year's often-record livestock prices.
"Although some factors can't be influenced, I am keen to work with the industry to build greater stability into Scottish agriculture through securing new markets, tackling input costs and securing a successful outcome from the current farming negotiations in Europe."
Tory rural affairs spokesman Alex Fergusson told the BBC: "cumulative impact of market prices, rising costs, exchange rates and the truly appalling weather over the last year has taken its toll" on farmers.
"The whole agricultural sector has taken a heavy hit, which will be felt all the more severely as agriculture was still recovering after many difficult years," he said.
"This makes it all the more important to ensure the best possible outcome for Scottish agriculture from CAP reform."