May 30, 2023 7.00 pm This story is over 10 months old

Loneliness warning for struggling Lincolnshire farmers

The agricultural sector faces a difficult time

By Local Democracy Reporter

Labour shortages in the farming industry could be linked to loneliness, members of Lincolnshire County Council have suggested.

A report brought before the council warned that staff shortages in Lincolnshire will threaten the agricultural sector if they are not solved soon.

It highlighted that farms across the county are struggling to hire new workers who they traditionally relied on partially due to the impact of Brexit and pandemic.

However, during an Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Ian Carrington (Conservative) said many are also discouraged by the fact that farming is a “very lonely occupation”.

“You are alone in that tractor and you are faced with the challenges of running a business with fairly limited support,” the representative for Potterhanworth and Coleby said.

There are all sorts of myths out there about billionaire grain barons and all the rest of it, but you are effectively running a business under very challenging circumstances currently.

“I think making sure that our farming community, whether they are working or running a farm, have access to support that we all need from time to time is extremely important.”

The report added that many farmers across the county have faced mental health problems as a result of the isolated nature of the job.

Councillor Martin Griggs (Conservative) insisted that staff shortages could also be a result of “wage compression”.

He said: “As wages have gone up nationally in all other lines of work, the reward for that job [farming] has diminished significantly.”

The representative for Skirbeck continued by saying that there is no easy solution to the matter as food prices cannot be increased as it could create inflation.

Looking ahead, a Championing Farmed Environment scheme could be reinstated in a bid to offer further support to those in the industry.

The council are also hoping to create a green masterplan for the county in order to balance the need for renewable energies and net zero targets to be met.

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