The UK farming and agriculture industries have always played a prominent role in the country's economy, but even they have to adapt to market movements and contingencies. There has been no period when the industry did not get affected in the slightest; however, the recent years have been tougher in comparison.
These tough circumstances, climate shifts, geopolitical decisions, etc., have all been central to defining how the industry will fare in the coming year. This blog will familiarise you with the prevailing issues and UK's farming prospects for 2021 – 2022.
Key Factors Currently Affecting Farming in the UK
To understand future prospects we can expect from the industry, we need to know which factors or events will affect them.
The UK's farming and agriculture industry have one of the most diverse workforces, but Brexit will likely be a key factor in this dynamic change. Britain's exit from the EU has increased job uncertainty for non-British European citizens who could previously get seasonal work in the country without the hassle of travel or residence documentation.
Despite the government offering to relax protocols for people the industry has employed, a significant percentage of the workers have decided not to return to take up the available farming jobs.
2. Covid Pandemic’s Economic Impact
The COVID pandemic affected all industries, initially due to the confusion around it and eventually due to the economic impact of nearly a year of slow economic activity. As an essential industry, farming and agriculture have been operational throughout this time.
Therefore, the affiliated people have not had the opportunity to process the psychological trauma the pandemic brought about, further affecting their work. Hence, they are living through the economic downturn due to the pandemic with their burdened and exhausted emotional state.
3. Climate Regulations
The climate crisis has been the second most difficult matter to handle in the past two years, and the global population has seen an increase in natural disasters that have wiped out entire villages. 2021 saw unprecedented flooding in London and the general unpredictable extreme weather conditions in the UK, while massive wildfires ripped through the US, Turkey, and Greece.
The worsening conditions have pushed world leaders to take stronger actions to reduce emissions, and that's where the agriculture industry comes in. Farming and agriculture are responsible for a significant percentage of the total GHG emissions; hence, new regulations about climate change will likely require restructuring.
UK Farming's Prospects for 2021 – 2022
The factors mentioned above make it obvious that the farming industry will see extensive changes in light of everything that has happened. Following are UK's farming prospects for 2021–2022 that are the most notable thus far.
1. Policies to Boost Productivity
The UK will be relying extensively on agriculture now that it has split from the EU. The next few years are critical for stability, and lawmakers are expected to push for policies that encourage productivity improvements.
Countryside Productivity and Future Farming Resilience are two popular schemes that are expected to come into effect. There's also a chance that farmers will receive grants to improve animal welfare beyond the regulatory requirement to boost industrial success.
2. The Environmental Bill
The environmental bill is likely to be enforced soon, and the agriculture industry will need to adjust to abide by new regulations. The primary goal of the environmental bill is to improve air and water quality.
Since livestock management, irrigation, and preparing farmlands to affect both these factors, the bill might lead businesses to adopt more sustainable methods. Vertical farming and regenerative agriculture are two prospective methods in which we might see more development; however, they still need funding and research to reach mass adoption levels.
3. Bountiful Wheat Production
Wheat production has surprisingly flourished during this time, and the UK will experience a 55% increase in total yield compared to last year. This increase is a positive development under the current situation, and how businesses and the market respond to the change will determine how beneficial it will be for the country.
Thankfully, it seems the demand matches the supply and has been the primary driver behind bioethanol plants restarting production. Such an ideal combination will likely boost the industry, a positive change for the country.
4. Diminished Supply of Fruits and Vegetables
Whilst wheat yields are expected to increase, the UK might see a drop in overall fruit and vegetable yields for the year. Although the pandemic pushed the interest and applications in fruit picking by 300%, UK farmers don't have a stable labour force to rely on for the planting and harvesting seasons.
They are already facing increased work pressure due to smaller workforces and are expected to give up on large scale farms and focus on planting and harvesting from relatively smaller lands.
The change is understandable given the limitations; however, industry experts are now considering how the lower supply might affect prices in an already shaken up economy.
What the UK’s Farming Prospects Means for Job Applicants
It is no secret that right now is a critical time for the UK's agriculture industry. These changes will open up several opportunities for people pursuing careers in the industry.
There will be a higher need for experts and consultants for policy changes. Furthermore, businesses will seek agriculture engineers and researchers to develop technologies and strategies to sustain or increase productivity whilst also lowering the environmental burden.
Hence, those passionate about the industry should take this opportunity to throw themselves into these careers and become the generation of change.
How Agricultural Recruitment Specialists Can Help
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The UK's farming prospects for 2021 – 2022 present extensive opportunities for the industry to evolve into a better and more sustainable version. The labour shortage needs an immediate response, but most other factors are already under policy consideration, which means the change has already begun.