A new report conducted by The Andersons Centre for this year’s Oxford Farming Conference has warned that British farmers are no longer competitive world leaders in their field, despite the best being ‘world-class in terms of their productivity, profitability and attention to detail.’
The research, which was authored by Graham Redman of Andersons, aimed to see how well UK farmers compared with their counterparts in other parts of the world. In particular it looked at what they do particularly well, as well as the factors that hold them back and potential opportunities for improvement.
“Our report wholeheartedly acknowledges that Britain has some world-class farmers, but that, as a whole, our farming industry is lagging behind other countries and must make bold strides to becoming more globally competitive,” said Richard Whitlock, Chairman of the 2015 Oxford Farming Conference. “The research repeatedly highlighted that what separates the best from the rest is an individual’s receptiveness to risk, their ability to save cost whilst raising output and an underlying zeal for building their businesses.”
NFU President Meurig Raymond commented, “The report correctly raises concern over UK farmers’ competitiveness and rightly concludes that more investment in British agriculture by way of applied research and a greater emphasis on the sharing of knowledge within our industry is a key priority.”
Among the report’s recommendations are: increased investment in agricultural research – particularly near-market research; improved opportunities for restructuring UK agriculture through facilitated young farmer access and a call for farmers to increase their general non-agricultural business acumen.