Farmers to get massive income boost

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Farming incomes failed to improve over the past year but Deloitte & Touche forecast a much stronger performance for 2003/2004.

A combination of favourable exchange rates and exceptional weather is expected to lift net farm income to £70/acre (£170/hectare) for next year, compared with just £17/acre for 2002/2003.

But Deloitte warned the upturn was set to be short-lived, telling farmers that they must continue to increase efficiency, adding value and diversifying.

Mark Hill, the partner leading Deloitte Food & Agriculture Group, said: ‘Five years of low profits has increased dependency on income from non-food producing activity and many farms have become dependent on it.’

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