Sunday 26 September 2021 1:22 pm

Turkey farmers blame Brexit for labour shortage that would ruin Christmas

Brits face the threat of no turkey this Christmas as a result of Brexit and subsequent lack of labour, the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA) has warned.

While small local farms are unlikely to be impacted, the UK’s supermarkets could see a ‘national shortage’ of turkeys in the run-up to the festive season due to a shortage of EU employees working at larger-scale farms.

Kate Martin, chairwoman of the TFTA, which represents producers of high-end free-range turkeys, said: “This year it’s looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we’re talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm.

“It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier on turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground, because the big processers know that they will not get them processed”.

Martin said everyone should get their orders in quickly as an ‘unprecedented number of orders’ have already been placed and that if you leave ordering your turkey from your local farm supplier, you are going to be out of luck.

She added that the crisis is ‘100% caused by a labour shortage’ of skilled European workers that is no longer available.

People are now missing a whole host of their workforce that they have been training and investing in over the last however many years, and those workers are no longer available for us to use on a seasonal basis,’ she said.

“They will go find work on mainland Europe instead.”