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New Potato Farms Disappear Amid Post-Brexit Labour Crisis and Severe Weather

The UK is witnessing a concerning trend: the disappearance of new potato farms. This decline is driven by a severe shortage of labour and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.

The Brexit vote, which aimed to "take back control" of borders and laws, has resulted in an exodus of EU workers who were crucial to the agricultural sector.

The new immigration rules have not only restricted the flow of seasonal workers but also created a labour vacuum that local workers have been unable to fill.

Seasonal worker visa schemes introduced by the government have proven inadequate, with limited uptake and insufficient numbers to meet the needs of the farming industry.

Adding to the woes of farmers are the extreme weather conditions that have become more frequent and severe. Climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought followed by intense rainfall, damaging crops and making farming operations increasingly challenging.

Small and medium-sized potato farms, in particular, have struggled to cope with these harsh conditions, resulting in a sharp decline in their numbers.

Furthermore, recent trade deals with countries like Australia and New Zealand have added to the pressure on local farmers. These agreements, while beneficial in some respects, have flooded the UK market with cheaper agricultural imports. This increased competition has made it difficult for domestic farmers, already burdened by high production costs and labour shortages, to stay afloat.

The future of new potato farming in the UK looks uncertain unless significant policy changes are implemented. There is an urgent need for improved labour schemes and financial support to help farmers adapt to the impacts of extreme weather. Without these measures, the once-thriving potato farming sector faces a bleak future in a post-Brexit world.


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