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UK dairy labour survey to investigate national worker shortage

20 October 2020

Dairy farm owners and managers are being encouraged to complete a survey to highlight the issues they have when recruiting labour following an announcement by Government last month (29 September) that access to foreign labour would be limited.

From January 2021, new immigration rules mean dairy farms will struggle to employ foreign labour as farmworkers are not classed as highly skilled by the Government and have not been included on the MAC Shortage Occupation List.

As a result, there is a very real threat of increasing problems when it comes to recruiting labour on dairy farms.

The RABDF last conducted a labour survey in 2016, which found over half of the respondents had trouble recruiting staff within the previous five years with 56 percent indicating they had employed foreign labour during the same period.

The short 10-minute survey will be used to gauge the severity of the labour issue on UK dairy farms and will form the basis from which solutions can be found.

Commenting on the survey, RABDF’s Managing Director Matt Knight said: “Sourcing quality labour on dairy farms has and I suspect still remains an issue for many dairy producers.

“The news that access to foreign labour will be limited from next year is an added blow, which is why we need to get an understanding of the scale of the problem and start looking for some short- and long-term solutions.

He added: “Already the RABDF has schemes in place to help encourage new entrants such as our Entrepreneurs in Dairying training course. We are also working with land-based colleges, youth groups and have also produced the Education and Training Directory specifically for the dairy industry to highlight relevant courses.

“However, more needs to be done and we need to be proactive about how we encourage more people into the sector and retain them,” he said.

Completing the survey

The short survey consists of 28 questions and can be accessed here. The survey will close on 20 November 2020. Farm owners and managers completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win £150 worth of Amazon Vouchers.


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