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CRPR External Seminar

Rebecca Smalley

“Keeping on top of it”: how livestock farmers manage their workloads and the demands of farm assurance shortly

A Centre for Rural Policy Research seminar
Speaker(s)Rebecca Smalley
Date23 November 2022
Time10:30 to 12:30
PlaceForum Seminar Room 02


In this seminar, I will present findings from PhD research among livestock farmers in England and Wales. Livestock farming in the UK is facing multiple pressures: severe financial pressure, labour shortages and sustainability challenges, including growing demands from the private sector. My mixed-methods research project looked at how farms are contending with these sometimes contradictory forces.

I will share with you what I found about how farm workforces are organised today, what strategies resource-constrained farmers are using to cope with their changing workloads, and how, if at all, farmers are they being affected by difficulties in the labour market.  The research related these issues to a particular aspect of livestock agriculture – farm assurance and certification – which I can also discuss.

The research used concepts from political economy and resilience studies to identify how livestock farms are adapting to the pressures they face, and to theorise what happens when farmers cannot cope. There are implications for our understanding of farm business pathways and of the capacity of UK farms to implement sustainability and animal welfare practices.

The seminar will also present an opportunity to discuss whether we should do more thinking about labour and private-sector pressures in agricultural research.

To follow shortly 


Forum Seminar Room 02