Farmer confidence in seven agricultural EU countries slightly decreased

Farmers' confidence in seven EU agricultural countries, including the Netherlands, fell slightly last year. The European survey of the agricultural umbrella organizations Copa-Cogeca notes a continuous decline in general confidence since the last half of 2021. 

The results per country give a mixed picture of confidence, mainly related to the economic situation of the agricultural sectors in those countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Sweden). Last year, a long, dry summer played an important role in agriculture, horticulture and fields in many EU countries.

In the Netherlands, the confidence of farmers and horticulturists in their businesses has decreased slightly, while the confidence index of dairy farmers and poultry farmers has improved.

Among Belgian farmers in Flanders, the confidence index has risen slightly because most sectors have remained economically stable. Only in Flemish horticulture was there a negative mood due to cost increases and falling consumer confidence.

For France, more than a quarter of farmers think that the current economic situation of their farms is bad; a stock that has fallen by 5% since March 2022 as the economic outlook continues to decline. 

The confidence index for Germany deteriorated significantly this autumn due to the crisis in Ukraine, increased fertilizer and energy prices and high interest rates on borrowed capital. The willingness of German farmers to invest in sustainable (wind and solar) energy is increasing, as are prices for milk, cattle and pigs. Farmers in Hungary are a lot gloomier across the entire sector; even for the next two, three years.

Concerns about rising costs continue to undermine Italian farmers' confidence. They too are more pessimistic about current and future affairs, with a horizon of 2 to 3 years). Finally, Swedish farmers' confidence was steadily declining until Q3 2022, but sentiment is now starting to become more positive and confident as Swedish farmers' incomes are increased.