Farmer fears for the future of his industry after prices of land rise

Robert Mason.
Robert Mason.
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Can you imagine a time without farmers? No beef with your Sunday dinner or milk with your cornflakes? It’s a terrifying thought but it could be the future we’re heading for according to one farmer.

Robert Mason, a 25-year-old Garstang farmer, believes that with the price of farmland rising and demand falling, developers and big businesses could drive farmers into extinction.

Combining

Combining

“We just can’t compete financially,” he said.

“Most farmers want to expand but they can’t afford to and it often means their sons or daughters get put off going into farming. If it continues farmers will be driven out of the industry and there won’t be anyone left.”

It comes after results were published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showing the price of farmland is rising and demand is falling in 2015. The survey revealed that in a matter of months the average price for an acre of land had risen from £8,250 to £8,750.

Robert explained that demand for land is still very high, it’s just farmers can’t get the loans to bid for it and developers can swoop in to build hundreds of houses.

People see us driving around in 4x4s and think we earn a lot of money but we have to use those vehicles – you wouldn’t fit many sheep in a Nissan Micra!

Robert Mason

“Farming is in a pretty poor state of affairs at the minute,” explained Robert.

“Farmers aren’t getting a particularly good price for any of their products so saving to buy new land is very difficult.

“Banks know this as well so getting a loan is almost impossible because for a lot of farmers, they only continue because of their love of the job.

“Quite a few don’t take a wage anymore and even if there is spare cash there’s so many other things that it can be spent on around the farm.

“People see us driving around in 4x4s and think we earn a lot of money but we have to use those vehicles – you wouldn’t fit many sheep in a Nissan Micra!”

But Robert does hold out hope for the future.

With protests going on over milk and beef prices, he belives that some day soon, farmers may receive a fair price for their product.

“We’ve seen supermarkets cave and we just need a little more from them.

“That’ll mean more money to buy land and hopefully the expansion of the farming industry, making it viable for years to come.”

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