A new survey carried out by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland (NFU Scotland) shows that the Brexit process is "eroding the confidence" of the Scottish farmers and crofters.

According to the survey, only one out of 10 farmers and crofters are positive about the future post-Brexti - regardless of whether or not a deal is agreed.

NFU Scotland said that the survey provides a "stark picture" of confidence levels in Scottish agriculture, while also giving the union a "stronger, clearer mandate on lobbying priorities".

As of Monday, June 17, the union received 689 responses - around 10% of its membership - which it said has been the largest response to a member survey in its recent history.

"Three years of frustrating to-ing and fro-ing on Brexit, with no clear political outcome or direction, have deeply eroded confidence at farm and croft level and left many of our members in a hole that is not of their making," said Andrew McCornick, president of NFU Scotland.

"The deep-rooted uncertainty around the whole Brexit process is reflected in the alarming number of Scottish farmers and crofters who have yet to undertake any business planning in connection with Brexit," he added, stressing that, according the the survey results, 74% of NFU Scotland members haven't undertaken planning.

Some of the other main figures from the survey include:

  • Taking ‘no-deal’ out of the equation, 55% of members think Brexit will be ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ for their business. Only 11% of members think that a Brexit deal would have a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ impact;
  • 64% of respondents agreed that a 'no-deal' would have a negative or very negative impact;
  • 45% said they have already experienced Brexit-related impacts - direct and indirect - since the referendum, with the main issues being: input costs; putting off new investments; putting of further expansion; and difficulties hiring and keeping staff;
  • 77% of members anticipated an increase in input costs after Brexit, while just over half are concerned about difficulties with exports;
  • 35% of members said they have "low or no confidence" about heir business longevity.

"It is a tribute to the resilience of our agricultural sector that a significant majority continue to see their future in farming and crofting.  That said, one in three have little or no confidence about business longevity post-Brexit and that must set alarm bells ringing at both Westminster and Holyrood," McCornick continued.

"We need direction on policy and a commitment to future funding. The Scottish Government and Westminster must wake up to the fact that people are making business decisions in a vacuum," he argued.