Who'd be a farmer today?

In 2017, we published Who’d be a Farmer Today? which explored the public’s perception of farming and the countryside.

It found that the UK public appears to have a rosy view of farming life, with one in four UK adults liking the idea of giving up their day job and working on a farm. However, the findings highlight a disconnect between the positive perception and the tougher realities of the profession.

When asked to estimate the annual incomes of UK farmers, the study found the public’s guess averaged at £46,801, with 9% of people estimating farmers’ salaries to be over £75,000. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs reported in 2015 that average incomes fell below £20,000; the lowest point since 2007. Furthermore, The Royal Countryside Fund’s Cashflow Crisis in Farming report found 50% of farmers no longer make a living from farming alone.

Interestingly, only 32% of respondents said their knowledge of the countryside and farming was either poor or very poor, while 95% of farmers surveyed said they didn’t think the British public understands the everyday challenges that farmers face. Research with farmers indicated that the majority of challenges facing family- run farms today are financial: poor commodity prices comes top (26%), with the potential loss of the Single Farm Payment (19%) and costs being too high (15%) also cited as concerns.

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