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Saturday 18 August 2018

Brexit a concern but farmers won't let it stifle ambitions

Commenting on Brexit, Dr O'Sullivan added that while issues over pricing and general market uncertainty are of concern to farmers, it is positive that they are looking to expand. Stock Image
Commenting on Brexit, Dr O'Sullivan added that while issues over pricing and general market uncertainty are of concern to farmers, it is positive that they are looking to expand. Stock Image
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Two-thirds of farmers expect Brexit will have a negative impact on their business in the next 12 months, according to latest research conducted by Bank of Ireland Agri Pulse.

However, the research showed that despite concerns around Brexit, one in three farmers plans to increase investment in the farm over the coming year.

It found 55pc have ambitions to expand over the medium term.

Speaking on the findings, Dr Loretta O'Sullivan, group chief economist at Bank of Ireland, said while Brexit is a cloud on the horizon, improving farm profitability has helped brighten the mood.

"Some 39pc indicated that the financial position of their farm is better now than a year ago, which is up from 24pc in the April survey and 11pc last August," she said.

Commenting on Brexit, Dr O'Sullivan added that while issues over pricing and general market uncertainty are of concern to farmers, it is positive that they are looking to expand.

"Pricing and uncertainty are key concerns, which the renewed weakness of the pound over the summer and the lack of progress in the latest round of withdrawal negotiations will do little to alleviate," she explained.

"Although Brexit is clearly a headwind, it is encouraging to see that half of farmers are looking to expand their business in the next one to three years," she added.

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The results also showed that 39pc of farmers expect to increase output over the next 12 months, with 52pc intending to produce the same amount.

However, concerns raised in the survey include land shortages, cash flow and price volatility.

Moreover, one third of farmers are still working in outside activities to supplement the income earned on their family farm.

The research highlighted that 32pc would prefer the farm to remain the same size in the years to come, while just 14pc, mainly older farmers, are planning on scaling down operations.

Some 250 farmers were surveyed by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Bank of Ireland.


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