The annual Marketing to Farmers report from Hillsgreen, in partnership with England Marketing, has found that more than half of the top concerns for farmers are financial matters.
In the report, which surveyed 745 farmers, climate change and investment in renewable energy also remained high on the farming agenda. When asked to rank to factors which had the most impact on the way they farm, farmers responded:
- Farm input costs
- Loss of BPS payments
- Land availability
- Government grants
- Clarity on Defra schemes
- Interest rates
- Climate change
- Staffing Issues
While money worries, due to inflation, energy costs and input costs, are having an impact, it is also the lack of communication from the government on various schemes and grant payments, which is having a real impact on everyday farm operations.
Not in the top ten but continuing to have an impact were weather, health and age, regulations, and disease and pest pressure.
Diversification is the main focus
In the current climate, farmers were asked about their investment plans and it was found that 35% were considering some form of diversification, 33% were actively seeking opportunities in machinery and 31% were seeking opportunities in buildings.
Other areas considered were renewable energy, technology and soil and environmental health.
Andy Venables, managing director of Hillsgreen, said: “Farmers are actively exploring various investment opportunities to enhance their farm businesses, increase revenue streams, and improve the overall sustainability of their operations. They do see potential growth areas within the sector and this emphasises the need for businesses to tailor support and resources to help farmers navigate and capitalise on these opportunities.”
Mental health support
As financial matters continue to have an impact, poor mental health is estimated to be 46% higher than in other sectors.
Fellow farmers and friends are the people that 15% of agricultural professionals look to for financial, mental health and practical support, closely followed by 12% going online or using social media.
The report found that farmers were more likely to go online when searching for advice, before going directly to family or the various farming welfare charities. However, it’s anticipated that these online services will be to connect with family or friends, or the online support networks provided by these charities.
Increase in YouTube and TikTok views
It was found that 83% of farmers use social media regularly, with 61% using it daily – an increase from 45% last year.
TikTok ranked highly, with 22% using the platform daily or weekly, while WhatsApp is used by nearly all those surveyed. The use of YouTube has also increased, with 37% using it every day, up from 14% last year.
For more information and download the report, go to www.hillsgreen.co.uk