Rising operating costs, lower agricultural commodity prices, and the threat of disease have seen farmer confidence drop in WA and across the nation, according to a new survey. A study from Rabobank, which surveyed thousands of farmers across has Australia, has found farmers are less optimistic about the upcoming year. This dip sees Australian farmer confidence drop to its lowest levels since December 2019. WA reported the highest proportion of farmers who expected their gross farm income to fall over the coming year. Only one in 10 WA farmers said they were expecting prospects to improve in the next 12 months, down from one in four last quarter. Mid West sheep and cattle farmers Liz and Tony Sudlow said they were feeling similarly concerned. “Increased costs are the biggest concerns for us,” Mr Sudlow said. Foot-and-mouth disease was also found to be an issue with 25 per cent of WA Farmers worrying about the disease, however, levels of concern were lower than any other state, except Tasmania. “The hype around that has reduced a little bit, but if we were to get foot-and-mouth disease that would be devastating,” Mrs Sudlow said. This is despite a very strong season in WA, according to Steve Kelly, Rabobank regional manager for WA. “WA grain growers are looking set for their second-best cropping season ever — with production well above average,” Mr Kelly said. “Cattle prices have hit incredible highs in recent years and, while they have eased, prices remain historically high.” Despite concerns for the upcoming year, Mr and Mrs Sudlow said the long-term future for Australian farmers is still bright. “The future of agriculture is still hugely positive, obviously are going to be highs and lows, based on some of the issues in the world, there might be a downturn but the long term prospects are still great,” Mrs Sudlow said.