United Kingdom: Arla conducts survey among members

In the United Kingdom the Denmark headquartered dairy cooperative Arla has warned that a chronic shortage of suitably-qualified farm workers is already reducing production of nutritious dairy products and contributing to food price inflation, a situation that will get worse unless urgent action is taken. In a survey answered by 541 of Arla’s 2100 UK Arla members 80 percent of farmers looking for workers have received ‘very few’ or ‘zero’ applications from people with the right experience or qualifications. A combination of the end of free movement of workers from the EU, the aftermath of the pandemic, and a host of other factors mean that more than three-fifths (61.3%) of farmers are finding it more difficult to recruit now than in 2019. In Arla’s survey a small but significant number of farmers say they have already reduced output by cutting the number of milkings (4.3%) and/or reduced the size of their herd (6.0%) due to staff shortages. Many more say they will take these steps (6.9% and 6.8% respectively) or leave farming altogether (11.9%) in the next year if nothing changes. Arla’s research covered around a quarter of all the cooperative’s farmers in the UK, who in total make up around 30% of all dairy farmers. It was conducted during May 2022.

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