MID AND West AM Simon Thomas has expressed concern about the fall in the value of farming income.

Party of Wales AM Simon Thomas called for the Conservative Government in London and the Labour Government in Wales to commit towards future funding to support agriculture and the rural economy.

“The fall in the value of aggregate agricultural output and in the total income from farming is a real cause for concern,” he said

The dairy sector, in particular, has been struggling - the value of milk and milk products fell by £35 million (or 8%) to £413 million.

Mr Thomas added: “With dairy farm incomes set to fall to their lowest level since 2003/4 we need leadership from both governments in London and Cardiff Bay.

“All types of farm businesses in Wales are facing a period of uncertainty following the decision to leave the European Union.

“Part of the reason for the forecasted income increase in lowland and upland beef and sheep farms is the weak pound and this is not sustainable.”

* Latest forecasts for farm incomes released by the Welsh Government have painted a mixed picture across the different farming sectors in Wales.

Whilst the figures, which are based on the Farm Business Survey, show that average farm business income across ‘All Farm Types’ is expected to be up by 16% to £25,500 for the year up to March 2017, drilling down further into the data, and looking at the comparative performance of the various sectors, reveals a mixed picture.

For dairy farmers, average income is forecast to be down by 25%, whilst lowland cattle and sheep farms and upland cattle and sheep farms are expected to show incomes up to 34% and 26% respectively.

Commenting on the forecast, NFU Cymru President Stephen James said: “I think the figures won’t come as a big surprise to anyone, the forecast incomes for the dairy sector are actually the lowest that the sector has seen since 2003-04.

“After what has been a particularly challenging couple of years for the dairy sector, we have seen some improvements in returns over the last few months. I very much hope that these improved returns are sustained and that the next set of income forecasts will make better reading than the current one.”