Profitability remains top priority for Europe’s farmers

More surprising is that the other concerns of producers questioned in the five European Union countries varied so widely, according to a recently published farming survey.

Yastremska, Bigstock
Yastremska, Bigstock

An average of 58 percent of the European farmers surveyed around six months ago by the German Agricultural Society, DLG, said that reducing costs of production was their most pressing management challenge.

This would likely come at or near the top of every entrepreneur’s priority list, but the rankings of their other concerns is worth noting.

Results of the survey, published in the latest DLG-Agrifuture Insights, reveal that reducing production costs is the main focus for 80 percent of French farmers, 75 percent of those in Germany, and 70 percent in the United Kingdom. However, the same measure was mentioned by only around 40 percent of Poland’s farmers, and less than one-quarter of the Dutch producers surveyed. Farmers in the Netherlands may already feel under control of their costs, according to the DLG.

Other concerns

A closely related issue, namely securing financial solvency, was the second most important concern of the European farmers overall with an average score of 54 percent. However, again this was seen as much more of a challenge in France and Germany than in the other countries.

Among the German producers questioned, the biggest concern was social acceptance of farming with more than 80 percent of those surveyed listing this as their most worrying challenge. Only slightly fewer mentioned shortage of land, and almost two-thirds were concerned by animal welfare.

Respondents in France held broadly similar view to those in Germany except over animal welfare, which was only seen as a management challenge by less than 30 percent of French farmers.

Of all the nations covered by the survey, it was the Netherlands whose farmers viewed none of these criteria as highly significant issues.

Lowest on the list of ranking overall was digitization with an average score of 27 percent. DLG commented that this may be because farmers felt they already had this aspect of management under control, or possibly that they were unaware of the potential of this new technology to impact their business in future.

Results of a survey of U.S. chicken producers released earlier this year revealed that the market in 2017 was good for their businesses, and several had plans to expand. Some of the country’s turkey companies, on the other hand, said they were considering cutting back on production in terms of live pounds.

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