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Lincolnshire’s flower, vegetable and plant growers have been urged not to suffer in silence after being hit by a “perfect storm” caused by a chronic lack of workers.

Severe reductions in people able to pick and pack food and flower crops, coupled with major supply chain issues, have led to anxiety, stress, financial worries and shear exhaustion - building day by day - for Lincolnshire’s growers as the situation worsens, with no immediate hope of a solution.

The NFU in south Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Rural Support Network (LRSN) are joining forces to ensure that producers know that there is support for them at the end of a phone line.

The NFU’s county adviser for the south of Lincolnshire, Jo Musson, said: “This is a perfect storm of labour supply issues.

“Our growers are producing high quality vegetables, salad, flowers and plants for sale all over the country. But because of the severe shortage of workers we’re seeing crops left to rot in fields and not enough people to wash, pack and transport them to retailers.”

Visas for abattoir and skilled poultry processing staff are being issued, but there is no sign of similar government support for the vegetable, salad and ornamental sectors.

LRSN’s Head of Charity, Amy Thomas “The situation is just getting worse and worse. Just having someone to talk to, to share and unload the day-to-day concerns, can help to see a clearer path through those challenges.

“The important thing to remember is that there is always someone there to talk to. Please don’t suffer in silence.”

Anyone involved in farming horticulture sector, or the allied trades, can call LRSN’s helpline, 0800 138 1710 - it is free, confidential and open from 8am to 8pm every day.

LRSN’s trained helpline operators are available to listen and can signpost callers for further help and advice, whether that is about their health and wellbeing, or other worries, including family or relationship issues, or financial worries.

Our nurses and our staff caseworker are also at Spalding Horticultural Auction regularly (see our calendar here) or a call or visit can be booked to talk through issues and concerns.