Farming vital to Gloucestershire
The importance of farming to Gloucestershire’s economy has been underlined by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
They state that 74 percent (224,262 hectares) of the county’s land area is farmed under commercial farm holdings, generating an annual gross output of £318 million.
The county produces around 8.9 percent (159,368) of the cows bred within the south-west, 10.5 percent (305,225) of the sheep, 6.5 percent (25,303) pigs and 14.4 percent (2,789,265) of the poultry stock. We also grow the second largest proportion of arable crops in the region, with at least 17 percent growing at any one time.
Farming in the county directly employs 7,419 people, who in turn look after the glorious landscape for which the area is renowned. According to the Countryside and Community Research Institute, every £1 spent on environmental stewardship is worth around £1.42 to the the county’s economy. This equates to a £9.1m contribution from the £6.4m given to Gloucestershire farmers in 2011/2012.
The NFU serves many roles within the agricultural community from representing farmers to the Government and EU Ministers as well as providing opportunities at local level for NFU members to share problems and pass on advice.