Costs crisis forcing farmers to find new ways to stay in business

Farmers across the region are being forced to consider making significant changes in order to stay in business as they continue to struggle to absorb rising costs.

Dairy farmer Michael Roberts
Dairy farmer Michael Roberts

Rising feed, fuel and fertiliser costs this year have led to many fearing how they will be able to pay their bills and remain in the industry.

In order to boost income, many farmers are considering selling land as well as diversification projects such as investment in renewable energy and pop-up campsites.

One of the biggest impacts on the industry has been the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are two of the major exporters of fertilisers and grain, and the ongoing conflict is having a major impact on the farming community and further down the line with everyone who buys food.

Dairy farmer Michael Roberts, who has about 100 cows at his 202-acre farm in Nobold, near Shrewsbury, warned he might have to sell some of his land for redevelopment in the future in order to put money back into the business.

He said: "Milk prices have jumped up and nearly doubled in some cases – but so have fuel and fertiliser, so I am dealing with bigger numbers really and your bottom line is not much different.

"We haven't been able to make enough money to invest in the buildings and parlours.

"We have got 202 acres and I am close to the town so maybe in time we could sell a little bit of land for building which could revitalise my farm. But I shouldn't have to rely on that. Money should be there to reinvest."

Richard Yates, who farms near Bridgnorth, added: "I feel like we're at a crossroads. We have been treading water all summer and waiting for our new government to be announced and then follow its direction.

"Finally, our government is waking up to the fact we have a cost-of-living crisis which has been flagged up since the invasion of Ukraine.

"Every farmer is tackling things differently, but ultimately we need clarity to be able to be profitable from our land.

"Some savvy business people will be considering all options including solar farms, wind turbines and renting buildings out to store caravans and to small businesses. There will be winners and losers."

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