Fears for well-being as farmers' confidence hits all-time low

There are fears for farmers' well-being as a new survey reveals farmer confidence has hit an all-time low. 

Federated Farmers' latest biannual survey has revealed 81 percent of respondents consider current economic conditions to be bad and just 29 percent say they're currently making a profit. 

Karl Dean became a farmer for the animals. 

"I like the animals and being around the animals - as long as we're not going broke in the process, so that's a positive."

But right now, it seems like the only positive.

"Sometimes you do feel as if what are you doing it for? Is it worth it?" Dean said. 

He's not the only one who's asking Federated Farmers' latest bi-annual farmer confidence survey has hit a new all-time low. 

Federated Farmers national chairperson Wayne Langford said his biggest concern is the fact that it's another low off the back of January's survey low. 

"It is continuing to get worse and those in power and are involved in the rural communities and influencing some of these decisions need to be aware of this."

Of the 1000 farmers surveyed in July, 29 percent of respondents reported making a profit - a sharp decline from 72 percent last year. 

Furthermore, 22 percent expected to reduce production in the next 12 months and just 3 percent were optimistic that economic conditions would improve over the next 12 months.

Forty-five percent expected to reduce spending in the next 12 months and 81 percent of respondents considered current economic conditions to be bad. 

This survey was done before Fonterra announced a steep $1 drop in their forecast milk price.

"It's going to be a $5 billion hit to the economy," Dean said.

The survey also revealed farmers' biggest concerns right now include debt, interest and banks, regulation and compliance costs, as well as climate change and the Emissions Trading Scheme policy.

Farmers say they can weather one or two storms, but when they're dealing with multiple regulation changes at the same time, it adds to the stress. 

Dean said it's just a constant barrage of changes as well as local and regional plans.

"It's always a concern with results like this that farmers will want to leave the industry and will be considering their options going forward. No doubt some will take that route, but hopefully will see a lot of farmers feel the same way and will continue going forward," Langford said. 

Federated Farmers has created a 12-point road map to help restore farmer confidence and they're urging the authorities to consider it. 

Dean said right now you've got to look on the bright side. 

"Happy calves and sunny weather does help put a bit of a smile on people's faces but it's definitely a bit of a tough time at the moment."

An outlook being shared across the country.