Survey responses needed to help assess farm labour shortages

Farmers and vets are being encouraged to respond to a Defra “snapshot” survey to help assess the labour shortages in agriculture.

The survey is open until the 18 November and will collect data on the current state of the labour market for the agriculture, vet, ornamental horticulture, waste and water sectors.

See also: Video: Labour shortage is ‘final straw’ for pig farmer

Agriculture has been hit hard by labour shortages on farm and the whole food supply chain is under pressure due to a lack of lorry drivers and butchers in processing plants.

Concern has also been raised about the serious challenges ahead for the farm veterinary profession.

The government has opened a temporary visa scheme for up to 5,500 poultry workers, 800 pork butchers and 4,700 HGV food drivers.

But there is industry concern about the slow progress recruiting staff, particularly the additional butchers needed to deal with the backlog of pigs.

Defra said the 10-minute survey “aims to take a snapshot of the situation at a specific point in time to provide a consistent picture across all businesses”.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) urged its members to respond.

RABDF managing director Matt Knight said: “Labour shortage has been an issue in the dairy sector for several years now.

“It is currently on the government’s radar, making now the most critical time to highlight the issue by completing their survey.

“If we don’t speak up now, we can’t expect to see any help from the government in resolving the labour shortage issue in the dairy sector.”

If you would like to participate, go online to complete the Defra survey.