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Farmers offered advice on tanker driver shortages

The NFU and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) have teamed up to issue advice for members about the problems caused by a lack of labour in the food supply chain.

Labour shortages in haulage, processing, packing and hospitality are all currently areas of concern, with driver shortages being particularly acute.

Peter Alvis, RABDF chair said: “For the dairy industry, we understand in some cases that this has meant non-collection or delayed collections of milk. If this situation gets worse, it could create big problems for the dairy supply chain and potentially see wastage of milk as well as added cost and impacts on milk prices.

“Due to the labour shortage, the tanker drivers coming to your farm may be under a lot of time pressure or may not necessarily have visited your farm before. Therefore, any delays could interrupt the dairy supply chain.”

NFU and RABDF have offered farmers advice to ensure a smooth and efficient collection process on farm:

  1. Signage

Installing simple signage indicating any one-way systems, where to pull in and out of the yard, the collection point situation or other key farm landmarks.

  1. A tidy yard

Ensuring access and turning points and passageways are free of machinery, vehicles or other debris, leaving plenty of room. Some drivers may not be as experienced as your regular driver.

  1. Minimising unnecessary distractions

Allowing the driver to collect milk without distractions, loose dogs or other potential delays, where possible.

  1. Preparation & facilities

Ensure facilities available for the driver and make sure family or staff on the farm are also aware of the procedures. Make sure the milk is ready for collection on time.

  1. Offer support

Ask the driver if they require help if they appear to be struggling, particularly new recruits.

Michael Oakes, NFU Dairy Board chair said: “The current labour shortages in the UK are affecting many parts of the food supply chain and the dairy industry has come under a similar pressure with a shortage of drivers, factory workers and farm staff. At this time of need, we must all do our bit to help try and ease the situation, so we are asking our members to play their part. This is especially crucial for milk tanker drivers, who are a vital part of our supply chain. Therefore, we have issued some top tips for ways farmers can make the lives of our tanker drivers easier whilst on farm.”

You can also write to your MP using this link to set out how labour shortages in the wider supply chain have been impacting your business. You may also wish to set out the effects of any on farm labour shortages you are experiencing since the end of free movement.

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