Farmers enjoying the good life?

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Farmer looking at his cows in the countryside

A survey on wage increases has revealed that farmers saw an enormous spike in incomes during 2013. A study by the Cabinet Office looked at different professions and how they fared over the 12 months, and discovered that farmers saw by far the highest pay rises - at an astonishing 13%.

But why is this, and should we all be turning to farming for a fast buck?

According to The Herald, the study found that total income from farming was £3,464 billion - up 13% from 2012. It also calculated changes in weekly incomes, and found that this was up 13% in this time too.

This was by far the most striking wage increase in the report. The nearest rivals were in manufacturing where pay rose 6%, construction where it was up 5% and teaching, which was up 5%.

This was a striking result compared to those at the other end of the spectrum: those in health and social care saw incomes fall 1% - as did those in IT. Meanwhile people working in hotels and restaurants saw incomes drop 5% - as did those who work in the arts, and miners received 6% less income during the year.

According to the Daily Mail, the UK Farming Minister George Eustice was quick to promote this as a great result for a British industry. He credited a rise in global demand for British food and drink, and pointed out that exports were up 50% over the previous 10 years.

Would you consider farming?

However, before you give up your desk job in favour of a life of wellies and early starts, it's worth looking a bit further back in the figures. Farmers have seen their income struggle for years, but 2012 was a particularly harsh year as farms and their crops were battered by the weather. All we are seeing in this latest rise is a return to the incomes they were making in 2011.

The National Farmers Union also points out that farmers are facing rising costs too - and that agriculture's cost base is up 72% since 2006.

A separate study shows that farmers bring home an average salary of £24,520, which does not compare well to the British average of £26,500 - and is way below the income brought home by lorry drivers, mechanics, nurses, prison officers, firefighters, plumbers, miners and train drivers.

But what do you think? Does the life of the farmer appeal?

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