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Its UK farming the next battleground for survival?

The National Farmers Union is today calling for assistance from the government and the regulators as the UK farming sector faces up to what could be a very difficult 2009. It appears that the credit squeeze and high cost of feed, fertiliser and fuel has pushed many farmers to the edge with many struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis. However, these claims have been countered by the British Retail Consortium which claims that UK farmers benefited enormously from higher prices in 2008 and should be more than fully funded for a potentially difficult year. But is this true?

The UK farming sector has been coming under pressure from all sides of late with general everyday costs increasing, the burden of regulation higher than ever before and UK supermarkets squeezing every last penny for their own benefit. While it be wrong to say that farmers are in the same situation as many of the UK retailers, who have seen business levels decimated of late, it may be a little misleading to suggest that they benefited 100% from price rises in 2008.

Many farms in the UK rely heavily on bank finance to see them through the ups and downs of the year but many banks have been reviewing their loan books and overdraft facilities to the detriment of many customers. Whether these increased financing costs will see a number of farmers fall by the wayside remains to be seen but 2009 could be a very tough year for them.

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