Increase in casual farm labor offsets overall downward trend
The agricultural workforce in England bucked a year-on-year trend with new figures showing growth in the number of people employed in agriculture.
The June agricultural survey estimates the number of people employed in agriculture at 301,000 on June 1, 2022, compared to 297,000 the previous year and which represents an increase of 1.3%.
Farmers, business partners, administrators and spouses make up 60% of the total workforce, with those numbers changing little, increasing by just 0.4%.
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The number of regular workers remained broadly stable at 67,000, but there was a 7.3% increase in the number of casual workers to 41,740, following a three-year contraction cycle since 2018.
The national identity and ethnic group of farmers and holders were recorded for the first time in the survey.
These data show that 99.8% of the farmers who participated chose white as their ethnic group.
Seventy percent of the 17,600 farmers who responded to the survey chose British as their national identity and 28% English.
The percentage of people selecting Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish was 0.4%, while 0.6% selected ‘other’.
Land ownership, tenure and use
Ownership of farmland in England increased by 1.3%.
Defra’s June Agriculture Survey shows Utilized Agricultural Area (UAA) at 8.9million hectares and making up 69% of England’s total area in 2022, up from just over 8 .8 million hectares in 2021.
Ownership of this land increased to 6.2 million hectares from 6.1 million hectares in 2021, while the land rental figure at 2.6 million hectares is virtually unchanged.
Forty-three percent of this leased land is covered by farming leases – these agreements now apply to nearly 1.3 million hectares.
Meanwhile, there was a drop of just over 2% in land subject to Farm Act leases, to 1,196,236 million hectares from 1,223,712 million hectares; this represents 41% of total agricultural land rentals.
The area of land leased on a seasonal basis increased by 5% to 549,000 ha.
The census shows that just over half of agricultural land is used for growing crops, while permanent grassland. at 41% of UAA. is up by 2.4% to just over 3.6 million hectares.
The area under arable crops remained relatively stable at 3.7 million hectares, with cereals making up the majority of this area covering 2.6 million hectares.
Potato production fell by 9.1% to 93,000 ha, and there was a 5% drop in the area of horticultural crops grown to 124,000 ha.