Union Launches Intentions Survey to Gauge Impact of Soaring Input Costs on Future Production Plans

NFU Scotland’s latest intentions survey for farmers and crofters will open this week (14 December) as the Union seeks to assess the scale of change that unprecedented input costs and flat-lining output prices are having on business plans.

The survey, which will go live tomorrow, is available at: all those taking part being entered into a free draw for a hamper of Scottish food valued at £200.

Concrete evidence on the business intentions of the Scottish farming industry will accurately illustrate the current challenges facing farmers and crofters and how that will impact on their plans for the coming year. It will also indicate the ramifications for the wider food supply chain and the nation’s food security. 

The survey, which closes on 10 January 2023, will be used by NFU Scotland when lobbying UK Government, Scottish Government and officials. It will also add significant and irrefutable weight to lobbying efforts with retailers on the need for fairer pricing and greater equity in supply chains.

When the Union conducted its first short-life intentions survey in June 2022, it was already clear that production on Scotland’s farms and crofts was set to be scaled back as producers responded to unprecedented cost increases for key inputs. A combination of several factors, including the tragic events in Ukraine, has seen fertiliser and energy prices treble and prices for fuel and animal feed double. 

A total of 340 responses were recorded in June, with 92 percent of respondents indicating then that they had already altered production plans with the biggest reductions in output predicted to occur in livestock, pigs, poultry and horticulture. 

Commenting on the latest survey, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “We must keep food security at the top of the political agenda. But to do that, we must have a robust evidence base to inform our discussions with politicians, stakeholders and the wider agri-food supply chain, including consumers.

“The results in June pointed to significant ramifications for our food and drink sector and all those businesses upstream and downstream who rely on farmers and crofters. We need to know if that picture has deteriorated. Tens of thousands of jobs in the food and drink industry in Scotland are reliant on us having a critical mass of production to feed into our processing and manufacturing sector. And scores of businesses that supply to farming and crofting businesses are dependent on a thriving and productive agricultural industry in Scotland. 

“And retailers need to take heed of the results. We went to great lengths earlier this year to highlight to supermarkets the impact that prohibitive costs were having on those who produce eggs and the need to pay producers a fair price. Those warnings were ignored, and we are now faced with restricted sales in some shops because of shortages and retailers finally waking up to the damage their short-term approach to pricing has caused.

“Since June, the cost pressure on all farmers and crofters, regardless of sector has remained intense, causing high levels of uncertainty. This survey will provide an immediate snapshot of confidence levels as the farming sector enters what is certain to be an incredibly challenging 2023.” 

NFU Scotland’s newly appointed Policy Manager for Livestock and LFA, Lisa Hislop said: “This intention survey will provide invaluable information for both the Livestock and Less Favoured Areas committees as we gather evidence on a multitude of issues and the depth of their impact on the industry. Moreover, the regional breakdown will give clear insight into specific issues faced by remote areas

"Questions in the survey relevant to anyone who operates a beef, sheep or pig enterprise have been designed in collaboration with Quality Meat Scotland and we thank them for their involvement.

“It is crucial that we have the evidence to highlight future intentions of farmers and crofters across Scotland and their ability to continue to deliver high quality of food.” 


Contact Bob Carruth on 07788 927675

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 108/22

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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