66% of farmers finding it hard to secure labour for their farms

FRS predicts farm labour challenges in 2023 on the back of limited work permits.
66% of farmers finding it hard to secure labour for their farms

Kenneth Fox

Two out of three Irish farmers are finding it difficult to secure sufficient labour for their farms, a new survey from Farm Relief Services (FRS) has revealed.

Three out of four farmers also agree that is difficult to find labour with the skills they require for their farms.

FRS predicts that farm labour challenges in 2023 on back of limited work permits.

There was a total of six out of 10 farmers who say they have a poor work/ life balance, while one in three would not recommend lifestyle to family or friends.

Four out of five Irish farmers also believe the Green Agenda will have a negative impact on the viability of their farms and six out of 10 feel farmers will require more external labour on farms to address the new emissions reductions.

While 55 per cent expect they will require knowledge supports to reduce emissions on their farms.

A majority of farmer (97 per cent) agreed that leaving their farm in safe hands when they were not there was a priority.

91 per cent cited access to peak time (spring/ summer) labour support, 90 per cent wanted access to qualified/ vetted labour and 83 per cent to improved expertise in the area of on farm sustainability.

Sufficient labour

Speaking about the research, Colin Donnery, Group chief executive of FRS said: “As this survey highlights, a significant majority of Irish farmers have experienced difficulties securing sufficient labour for their farms this year.

"Two thirds of Irish farmers have encountered this problem. Another three out of four say they can’t find labour with all the skills they need.

“This is the first time a survey of this detail on farm labour has been undertaken and these are startingly figures.

"To have so many farmers finding the situation so difficult this year should come as an eye opener to anyone who is concerned about the productivity of Irish agriculture and the welfare of the Irish farming community.

“Unfortunately this situation is unlikely to improve in the short term. FRS Farm Relief is forecasting an even more challenging year for farm labour in 2023."

He said the rise to near full employment in the country, coupled with rising costs across the economy will have "serious implications for the market and ultimately will be felt by farms across Ireland."

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