Sheep Farmers Most At Risk From Brexit, Those With Cows May Gain
Brexit may split Britain’s farmers down the middle. While the UK government’s favoured option of a free-trade agreement with the European Union would limit the effect on British agriculture, a no-deal Brexit could see sheep farmers lose about 38% of the value of their production, according to a study.
On the other hand, beef, pork, poultry and dairy producers could benefit from increased tariffs on imports from the European Union should Britain leave the bloc without a trade deal, the report from Belfast’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute showed.
With Britain a net exporter of lamb to Europe, the imposition of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules would reduce UK prices for the meat by 30%, the institute said, citing a model of trade flows.
At the same time, prices for dairy products may rise by the same amount, with beef prices increasing 17% and poultry by 15%, it said.
The results of the study are limited by uncertainty over labour, regulations and the long lifecycles of livestock production that mean farmers take years to adjust to new prices and output levels.