More local people should be working full-time on farms, says minister George Eustice

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Farming minister George Eustice has said that the industry needs to do more to attract local people to take up jobs in the agricultural sector.

The minister visited the second day of the Lincolnshire Show on June 22, where he gave a speech at the NFU stand, and spoke to Lincolnshire Business about the post-Brexit outlook for farming.

He said: “I think there is a challenge for the industry here. There are full-time roles in agriculture: supervisors, irrigation managers, tractor drivers, which are full-time roles where we actually should be trying to get more local people to take up those roles.

When asked if local people did not want these jobs, he said: “If they don’t want to do it, they can do something else, they can do some other work.

“We do obviously have a view that everybody should do some work, and if they don’t want to work on a farm, they should do something else.”

Five things we learned from George Eustice

  1. The Conservative government has pledged to keep the agriculture budget the same for the duration of this Parliament, however long it lasts.
  2. It will look to gradually retarget the farming budget over time, meaning some people could benefit but others could lose out.
  3. The former UKIP candidate and Brexit supporter used to run a strawberry farm in Cornwall where he employed 250 seasonal staff, including many from EU countries and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand on holiday visa schemes.
  4. The farming industry should be doing more to attract local people to take up full-time agricultural roles such as supervisors, irrigation managers and tractor drivers.
  5. He believes that the Hunting Act was a badly drafted piece of legislation and would be open to revisiting it, despite the government not including it in this week’s Queen Speech.