NEW statistics provided by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) show that the ongoing Brexit uncertainty has taken its toll on British farmers’ confidence, which has hit an all time low.

A total of 732 farmers and growers across the country took part in the latest NFU members’ survey regarding how confident farmers felt towards Brexit short-term (one year) and mid-term (three years). The results reflected that mid-term confidence had hit an all-time low, since the survey began in 2010, short-term confidence had turned negative, dropping by 19 points, reaching its lowest level since April 2016. Twenty one per cent of farmers are also intending to decrease investment over the next 12 months, as a result of Brexit

NFU president Minette Batters said the results emphasised the urgent need for clarity regarding the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

“These results paint a very stark picture of the true extent Brexit uncertainty is having on farming businesses,” she said. “The unknowns of our future, from what the trading environment will look like or how farms will have access to a workforce from outside the UK, is making it almost impossible for any food-producing business to plan properly. Productive, profitable and progressive farms are central to our ability to produce safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation, all while protecting and enhancing our cherished countryside.

“There will be British farmers out there lambing now with no guarantee about what market they will be selling into in three months’ time, let alone a year or two down the line. With 70 per cent of agricultural exports sent to the EU, this market is so important for our industry, which is why the NFU continues to call for free and frictionless trade in any Brexit agreement.”