Now more casual workers on farms than full-time farm workers

The number of full-time farm workers in England fell by almost 4% in 2016 - 2017. The figures from the annual agricultural census show that casual employment during that time rose by 10%.

Food and Farming Policy





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The annual agricultural census from June 2016 - June 2017 shows that the number of casual farm workers rose by 10.3% to 48,000. Regular full time workers fell by 3.7% to 45,000 employees.


Vicki Hird, Sustain’s farm coordinator says:

“These figures confirm the trend towards increasing casualization of labour and precarity in agriculture. Despite some rise in higher skilled contract work it is mostly about poorly valuing farm work.  

The longer we fail to ensure that farm incomes reflect the true costs of production including decent, long term, decently rewarded employment, the greater the exodus we will see from farm communities and lost rural cohesion. We need fair deals from the food supply chain, regulated by an extended Groceries Code Adjudicator and public support must pay for the public benefits of sustainable farming.”

Since 2000 the number of regular full-time farm workers has dropped from 63,000 to 45,000. in 2000 there were only 45,000 casual workers compared to 48,000 today.


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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.