Lincolnshire farmers say alternatives needed for recruiting harvest workers after 'Pick for Britain' campaign scrapped


Lincolnshire farmers have said that options need to be considered after the government's Pick for Britain campaign was cancelled.

The programme was set to make up for a lack of migrant workers on farms, but it was revealed that just one in ten of the harvest workforce was made up by UK residents.

Lincolnshire produces one-eighth of England's food and farmers fear that Brexit and the pandemic will cause a shortage in harvest workers.

Mark Leggott, a farmer in Boston, said that the scheme didn't achieve what it set out to.

"It was well-intentioned, but I think overall it has been a pretty poor exercise," he said.

"We were all hopeful for it, this time last year Covid was rampaging through the countryside, we were all in lockdown and we were hopeful that people would come, as it happens I think there was several factors that made it a non-starter."

Farmers in Lincolnshire have said they are having to work twice as hard to do the work that is needed. Credit: ITV News

The National Farmers Union said that farmers still needed thousands of non-UK workers for the 2021 harvest.

NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said that seasonal farm work wasn't a viable solution for most people.

He said: "What we're asking of them is huge; in reality it means people needing to work in rural areas, away from their families, where they will only have guaranteed work for between three and six months."

The government have said that there will be a more targeted approach this year.

Tom said that work will be done with the Department for Work and Pensions and job centres to ensure that workers can be found for the harvest.