FARMERS' incomes in the United Kingdom are at their highest level since 1997, following the third annual increase in a row. Total UK income from farming rose by 32 per cent in 2003 to pounds 3.2 billion compared to pounds 2.49 billion in 2002, official figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show. DAVID McCOY has been looking behind the headline figures
THE Ulster Farmers' Union said the increase in farm incomes in 2003 had been badly-needed following the horrendous problems faced by the industry the previous year.
However, the Union said the average net farm income in Northern Ireland "is still only a meagre pounds 160 per week."
In 2002, bad weather and the strong Pound severely affected farm incomes, which fell by 33 per cent.
The recovery in 2003 has seen incomes rise by 37 per cent, with …