The NATIONAL farmers Union has responded to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee's report on EEA migration in the UK.

The report calls for 'no preference' for EU nationals after the Brexit implementation period and urges the government to make it easier for high-skilled workers to settle in Britain.

President Minette Batters said the NFU will look at the report in greater detail, our initial thoughts are that the Migration Advisory Committee has recognised the need for a competent and reliable workforce to ensure that British food and farming remains a successful and thriving sector.

"But it runs the risk of wrongly pigeon-holing farming as a low productivity/low-wage industry, and overlooking the crucial role farmers and growers play in underpinning rural economies as well as our largest manufacturing sector.

“The findings acknowledge farming’s specific requirements and our own calls that an abrupt reduction in the number of EU workers able to work here post-Brexit would cause massive disruption to the entire food and farming supply chain.

As a significant employer, agriculture requires a full range of skill sets across a broad spectrum of roles, both seasonal and permanent.

"Farm businesses already pay competitively for labour used on farm which is why we strongly rebut the recommendation that there should be a higher minimum wage for access to seasonal agricultural workers in the future.

“British farming is a highly innovative sector and strides to make increases in productivity and efficiency."