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  1. ITV Report

Farmers urge government to provide post-Brexit clarity

Farmers are calling on the government to provide direction and answers on the future of British farming after the UK leaves the European Union.

Some fruit farmers, who rely heavily on migrant labour, fear a shortage of workers following Brexit could have a devastating impact on the industry.

The NFU are calling for a special visa to be created for seasonal work. The union want guarantees from the government soon and say major players from the industry are already pulling out of Britain due to the uncertainty.

Ali Capper, a fruit farmer in Worcestershire, said a lack of migrant workers would make harvesting crops very difficult, telling ITV News: "It's the difference between be able to pick a crop and being able to have to walk past it and leave it to rot in the field.

"It's a serious prospect, especially for the very perishable crops like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries.

"It's nonsense that we would take the quintessentially British apple or British strawberry and grow that somewhere else and import them in. It's mad."

These sheep farmers believe Credit: ITV News

Other farmers are worried about subsidies from Brussels which make up almost half of Britain's farming income.

But not all farmers share the view Brexit will have a negative effect on farming.

Ryan and Sue Powell sell most of their sheep to Europe and they are perfectly happy with Brexit.

They are confident in their product and a weak pound means good for business on the continent just now.

"We supply Europe, they're not going to just say 'we don't want British stuff now,' surely to god," Mr Powell told ITV News.

Mrs Powell was also confident: "Some farmers might not survive but they may be in difficulties anyway but British is best and the housewife and Europe know that British, we're quality."

But while farmers may disagree about the effects of Brexit, there is consensus among farmers on one thing: that with Britain's exit from Europe fast approaching they need the government to provide some answers and direction.

"We seem to be 12 months on and we know no more than we did this time last year," one sheep farmer at auction in Worcester told ITV News.

Another farmer added: "If they stop the subsidies we are going to have to adjust to it somehow. And if the food's expensive well then people are going to have to pay for their food, haven't they.

"We'll manage somehow."