Family farms are losing millions of dollars as their fortunes are threatened by global climate change, a survey has found.
The Royal Society of Chemistry said that more than half of the farms that had lost the most money over the past 20 years were located in the UK, the United States, the Netherlands and France.
The report said that while many family farms were not losing money, they were also losing valuable resources such as fertilisers, seeds and livestock.
The study also said that farming and farming services were not always reliable, and that in some cases the farms could be in a financial difficulty because they are not paying staff properly.
In some cases, the study said, the loss was due to the loss of staff, or the loss or delay in payment for fertilisers and feed.
The RSC study also warned that the global climate was “not a perfect climate” for farm operations and that the loss would only worsen.
The National Farmers’ Union said the report was an important one that confirmed what farmers already knew.
The NFU said it had always supported the Royal Society’s research into farm issues.
However, it said it wanted farmers to “understand that the problems associated with climate change are not unique to this particular time and place”.
It said that the NFU “should be doing more to support and support farming”.
The report also said the UK’s farmers were already experiencing financial difficulties and had the power to improve their situation.
The Rural Development Minister, Richard Harrington, said: “This report makes clear that the Government is determined to address climate change as a priority, and the Government will continue to support local authorities and the private sector to support the farmers who are struggling the most.”
The Royal College of Midwives said it welcomed the Royal Societies findings, which said: ‘Many rural communities are struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change’.
“However, we do not know the full extent of the problems that are facing farmers, as the research does not reveal the extent to which climate change is affecting farming and related activities,” said the college.
“We know that farmers in many rural communities will face severe financial difficulties in the future.”
The report by the Royal College and Agricultural Sciences said the lack of reliable weather data had “distorted the picture”.
“There is an increasing need for reliable weather information and the need for farmers to be informed about current weather conditions, which has become more difficult,” it said.
“This is particularly true for farmers in rural areas, who have limited access to weather information.”
Rural Weather Network reported that there were about 8,500 farmer-run weather stations across the UK.
The charity said there was a “need to create and maintain accurate weather information, which will help farmers and other rural people to adapt to the impacts climate change may have on their livelihoods and the livelihoods of their families and communities”.
“We need to make sure that weather information is available to the public and also to the rural people, and we need to provide a consistent and affordable supply of this information to the general public,” it added.
“We should also be able to make the weather information more useful for farmers, who will be affected by the weather more than others.”
The RSPCA said it was “disappointed” with the RSC report.
“In many ways, this is the equivalent of saying we have to take a bath before we get into the water, which is not good news,” said Chief Executive, Anne Higginson.
“The RSL is calling for more rain, less frost and more sunshine, but it’s important we understand what the situation is like for the rest of the country.”
She added that farmers needed to be more careful with their decisions.
“The RSM [Royal Society of Mechanical Engineers] report was published in 2016, but the government has not implemented any of the recommendations,” she said.
“This is not surprising because the government is not in the business of telling farmers what to do, and is instead in the public’s interest.”
She said the RSL’s report highlighted how the government’s farm investment scheme, which provides subsidies for small farmers and helps to support larger farms, had “failed” to help farmers.
The scheme is being introduced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The RSA also said farmers were also being “disproportionately affected by climate change”.
“Farmers are being pushed out of the countryside to other areas, and it is a significant part of their livelihood to provide for their families in other areas of the UK,” said a spokesman.
“Climate change and other human impacts are a reality for many of our farmers, but they are also a reality that must be addressed.”