More farmers needed, says MP

A Cumbrian MP has called on the government to do more to grow the UK’s farming workforce.

According to recent figures, the workforce on UK farms grew by 10,000 people between 2010 and 2011. However, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron said more could be done and extra support from the government should be given to the agriculture sector to help them take on farming apprentices.

Farron has made it clear that 2012 should be the ‘year of the apprentice’ in Cumbria. He said: “So far, over 3,200 people have started an apprenticeship since August last year. This adds to the 5,280 who were on an apprenticeship in 2010/2011, representing an increase of 58% on the previous year.

According to the MP, his call has echoed what the NFU president Peter Kendall said at a round table meeting with the Prime Minister. Farron said Kendall stressed that there was a need for “new blood” to enter the farming industry.

He added: “Farming and agriculture needs to be supported and, by helping them to take on apprentices, we really can support the next generation to look at farming as a real career. I think Defra can do much more to help young people get a well-paid job and train at the same time – I will do all I can to push them to look at apprenticeship schemes for rural businesses.”

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