“Farmers are showing a lot more optimism in both the wider economy and individual farm prospects,” Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said.
“You could say farmers are in recovery mode but this bounce back comes off a low base. There is still a large gap in the sentiment of dairy farmers when compared to the other farming sectors.”
He said the survey results are a big turnaround from six months ago when farmers were negative about the wider economy and were very pessimistic about their own profitability.
“The 2012-13 season was definitely one of two halves. The timing of our January survey meant it did not fully pick up the impact of the late summer-autumnal drought. That drought ended up being the worst in 70 years and is now estimated to have cost the economy around $1.5 billion,” Wills said.
“Like all droughts it eventually broke, but as the new 2013-14 season kicks off, its residual impacts still weigh on the minds of farmers.”
Despite these concerns, farmers are entering the new season with more optimism.
“Dairy farmers remain the most optimistic industry group with very strong survey indicators and this isn’t really that surprising, given current payout forecasts and expectations of a recovery in production,” Wills said.[codeblock id="1"]Code Block: Confidence poll[/codeblock]
“We are especially pleased to see sheep and beef farmers feeling more optimistic. Admittedly this comes off a low base following a very tough 2012-13 season, something I can speak of with first-hand experience.”
Results from the Farm Confidence Survey:
- 34.2% of respondents expect general economic conditions to improve over the next 12 months.
- 33.7% of respondents expect their own farm’s profitability to improve over the next 12 months.
- 28.3% of respondents expect to increase production over the next 12 months.
- 11.0% of respondents expect to increase onfarm spending over the next 12 months.
- 21.5% of respondents expect to their farm debt to reduce over the next 12 months.
- 15.6% of respondents found it harder to find skilled and motivated staff over the past six months.
- Respondents’ biggest single concern was regulation and compliance costs, cited by 19.9% of respondents.
- Respondents’ highest priority for government is fiscal policy (ie, reduced government spending and/or reduced government debt), cited by 14.9% of respondents.
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