RABDF roundtable sets out plans to overcome labor crisis in UK dairy sector

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Getty/StockSeller_ukr
Getty/StockSeller_ukr

Related tags labor shortage Agriculture

The Royal Association Of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) hosted a roundtable at the House of Lords to discuss the growing labour crisis in the dairy industry and outline ways to overcome it.

The event, hosted during May by RABDF president Lord Ewen Cameron and chaired by RABDF chairman Di Wastenage MBE, included representatives from across the dairy industry - from government officials, UK colleges, dairy farmers, HR and people experts, processors to an expert panel member from the Shortage of Labour in the Food and Farming Sector.

From covering the immediate labour needs versus the longer labour needs, through to identifying and improving the image of dairy farming, the roundtable covered a wide range of important issues to help overcome the issue and identified some key actions to take forward.

RABDF’s Di Wastenage said: “This week’s roundtable was an invaluable discussion on how to create a short- and longer-term pipeline of employees coming into the industry. This isn’t something that can be done overnight, and it will take time to prioritise how we do this and the key stakeholders needed to help us get there. It’s clear that access to foreign labour is something we still need in the short term, so we will be reiterating that message in our submission to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) Review.

“However, it is not a long-term solution. For that, we need to look at a myriad of options from education in schools, brand building, skills development, attracting employees from diverse backgrounds, and setting up a dairy scholarship scheme, as examples.”

Wastenage added: “Labour on dairy farms is a paramount issue and we need this pipeline of employees to safeguard the UK dairy industry. Following the roundtable, the next steps are to identify the key players and where the shortages lie, which we hope to achieve with our 2023 labour survey,” she said.

Results from the RABDF Labour Survey will outline where the barriers are to recruitment, the extent of the labour problem on UK farms and the impact it is having. The survey is still live now and can be completed here​.

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