Future of subsidies still a main concern for the future of farming

  • 4th August 2021

A recent agriculture survey has revealed the future of subsidies is the top concern of farmers and landowners. The Rural Accountancy Group (RAG) recently conducted a survey of its 9 member firms. The survey, conducted across the UK, was responded to by 255 clients of the RAG accountancy firm members.

Recipients were asked to rank their top 5 concerns at the moment. Whilst the future of subsidies came at the top of the list with 220 respondents stating this was one of their top 5 concerns, environmental, climate change and weather impacts also sat very highly on the list with 212 voting this as one of their top 5.


Speaking about the results of the survey, Lee Bradbury, partner of member firm Forrester Boyd and agriculture specialist stated, “It is not surprising to see subsidies at the top of the list. We still need more clarity on the future of subsidies and this reflects in the overall sentiment shown by our farming clients with the highest percentage of them being ‘somewhat positive’ about their futures.”

Commenting on the survey, one respondent said, “Until we have real clarity about what environmental land management schemes (ELMS) means, forward planning is tricky.” The NFU have also recently given evidence on behalf of members to the Efra Committee on the new ELM scheme which you can read more about here.

Respondents were also asked if their business had utilised advances in agricultural technology. The results revealed that 119 respondents had already invested in technology and were planning to continue to invest. A further 60 were looking into technology with a plan to invest in the future. With 126 respondents being from the arable farming sector, it is good to see the adoption of new technologies.

When asked if they were optimistic about the future we were not surprised to find out that 131 of our respondents were 'somewhat' optimistic about the future. This reflects the uncertainty that we are all experiencing at the moment. 80 respondents stated they were feeling positive about the future. On the flip side 35 respondents were less positive for the future.

Government statistics revealed that in 2020, agriculture’s contribution to the UK economy (Gross Value Added at basic prices) was £9,435 million1. When we consider the contribution of the sector to GDP, one respondent of the survey commented, “people need feeding and farmers are the backbone of the country, we just need to be recognised for it”. This reinforces the work of the NFU who represent to sector and continually strive to raise the profile of the sector through campaigns such as the ‘Back British Farming’.

You can read the full report from the survey here.


All data and figures referred to in our news section are correct at the date of publishing and should not be relied upon as still current.