Farmers’ cash and labour fears

Farming in the rain ENGEMN00120130611124157
Farming in the rain ENGEMN00120130611124157

Local farmers fear uncertainty over Brexit will impact their businesses and are pushing the government for answers, the NFU revealed at the Lincolnshire Show on Thursday (June 21).

The National Farmers Union Lincolnshire county adviser Andrew Wilson has spoken out about local members’ concerns over access to labour and the availability of subsidies post Brexit.

And he said the government had failed to move forward with a promised seasonal worker scheme - a key issue for the county’s farmers.

Mr Wilson said: “Another key issue is the availability of farm subsidies post Brexit, to provide members with security to invest in their businesses.

“There’s an air of uncertainty going forwards.

“Farmers are at the point where they want to know what they’re doing and get on and do it.

“Uncertainty in any business isn’t a good thing.

“We know changes are coming and we want as long a period as we can to adapt to these changes.

“We can’t just adjust in one or two years.

“We want to make sure the government delivers on its promise to ring fence our budget.

“Everyone is here because of farm productions.”

NFU members at the show on Thursday heard Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, George Eustice speak about Brexit and the transition period.

Mr Wilson said: “Questions were asked about access to labour, one of the key issues.

“The government hasn’t moved any further forward in the last four months.

“We’re pushing the government for a seasonal workers scheme and we would like a timely roll out.

“Michael Gove indicated at the NFU conference in February there would be a scheme in place in June… there still isn’t one in place.”

Mr Wilson said other key issues the NFU would be pushing the government on included what steps were being made to cut the bureaucracy local farmers currently face.

And he said farmers needed to secure government support to allow a specific crop to be exported to continental Europe.

Mr Wilson said farmers had enjoyed this year’s Lincolnshire Show, which he said had been the busiest yet.

He said: “This year has been busier than any year we can remember.

“It’s a good opportunity for the farming community to speak to the wider public.”

He added: “We use the show to listen to our members, to spend time with them listening to their needs.”

DEFRA has been contacted for a comment.