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One Aylesbury farmer shares pandemic pressures

One Aylesbury farmer shares pandemic pressures

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 1:13pm 26th March 2020.

As coronavirus affects many work sectors an Aylesbury farmer shares the pressure he is facing. 

Last month we heard from Greg Masters about the mental health struggles farmers deal with, some of which affect health and safety on the farms. 

Now, during the coronavrius outbreak, he is explaining how farmers are facing even more pressure:

"The prices of lamb has already dropped this week. With Mcdonalds and all these restaurants shutting, Mcdonalds uses 1,350 tonnes of beef a week. That is going to affect the beef prices. Its quite worrying really for a lot of farmers."

During our mental health month Greg spoke to us about the issues of mental health in farmers, and the consequences that can have on health and safety on farms. 

Now he says the situation is more difficult as many farmers already lead extremely isolated lives:

"We don't have a lot of choice most of the time. We're sat on the tractor on our own or in the field lambing on our own...

"One thing that is very apparent now, and when we last spoke, is that mental health issue. We are all self isolating. Now we can't go out have a chat and maybe have a drink after work. It is very very lonely."

Greg is a pastoral farmer, meaning he deals with livestock but arable farmers are also struggling. 

Travel restrictions have hugely impacted the amount of workers that have been able to come to the UK, tens of thousands of which would be seasonal agricultural workers.

Mark Bridgeman, President of the CLA, said:

"We all know this is a deeply concerning period and we are all determined to do all we can to help the country through it.

"In order to do so, we must recognise that farmers supply of labour is in jeopardy. A shortage of 80,000 workers is something we have never seen before. This is why we are calling for a 'Land Army' of employees to support farmers in feeding the country.

"We need urgent Government assistance to help source workers and advertise positions. Time is of the essence as many farmers will soon begin, or have already, begun planting or harvesting.

"Farms and rural businesses are already suffering from the winter flooding and uncertainty over future international trading relationships. If we fail to find these key workers, businesses will go bust."

Greg says any help would be appreciated:

"A lot of people may be sat at home unable to go to their work. Farmers would really appreciate help picking and packing. It would be very much appreciated and would help fill the gap from international labour not coming over."

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