29 Jul 2009

Farmers gloomy about economic outlook

10:44 am on 29 July 2009

Farmers don't appear to share the view of those who think the worst of the recession is over, according to a Federated Farmers survey.

In the organisation's inaugural farm confidence survey, a net 45% of the 272 respondents expected economic conditions to deteriorate further in the next twelve months.

Dairy farmers are the most pessimistic - more than three quarters of those surveyed expected profits to fall.

A net 36% of all farmers expect to reduce spending over the coming 12 months, led by dairy. A narrow majority of farmers did not expect to increase borrowings.

Federated Farmers economics spokesperson Philip York says income from the dairy industry is beginning to dry up, and farmers are struggling to find evidence of the start of an economic recovery.

He says there are plenty of reasons for farmers to be miserable, including reduced earnings, increased costs and expensive compliance requirements.

On Tuesday, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released its annual outlook which predicted increasing returns for forestry, meat and dairy producers over the next three to five years. However it forecast a lean 2010 season for dairy farmers.