‘It will be very tough,’ Ormesby farmer’s concerns over Brexit

Norfolk Farming Conference 2016. Pictured: Richard Hirst.

Norfolk Farming Conference 2016. Pictured: Richard Hirst. - Credit: Kieron Tovell

An Ormesby farmer has expressed concern for his industry following the result of the EU referendum.

Richard Hirst, who owns Hirst Farms, said he was mostly worried about the uncertainty which came with the vote, after there has been little said about how different industries might be affected.

The 54-year-old said he was unsure on whether the subsidies which come from the EU would carry on, adding that it was crucial the industry still got those payments.

He said: 'We only have one harvest a year and we import 45 to 50pc of the food we eat, all of that comes out of Europe.'

Mr Hirst farms salad, and he said in the winter months this all comes from countries such as Spain.

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'As a business we will be able to survive but it will be very tough. Whenever farmers make money they will put that into the business which is fantastic for the whole economy.'

On the freedom of movement, Mr Hirst said he had workers from Eastern Europe come and help with his salad crop every year. They come for three to six months at a time before returning home.

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He said: 'We're absolutely reliant on Eastern Europe because people do not want to do the work. The conditions are good and the pay is good but people do not want to do it.'

He also said the builders they have on the farm employ people from Poland. He said the workers were 'brilliant'.

In terms of the future, Mr Hirst said the industry hadn't been able to make any contingency plans because they didn't know what was going to happen.

'I think we will have a trading relationship with Europe,' he said.

'At the moment crops in Spain can be loaded in depot and be transported without being stopped. If that changes that takes time and costs more.'

'I just think it's really sad that the vote to come out was made up of lies which is so frustrating.'

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