Farmers React to Coronavirus

Mike Bracegirdle, Head of Agriculture, reviews the latest developments in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and how these may affect farmers and others in rural industry.

Farmworkers and vets

The Department for Education has revealed its list of key workers – those whose can continue to work and whose children can still go to school amid the current crisis.  Farmers, farmworkers and vets are included in the section ‘food and necessary goods’.

In an urgent plea, industry leaders have also requested dispensation for people to work on the farms amid a labour shortage due to the current crisis.

Cheshire West and Chester council (and other councils) have created work zones for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the current crisis and maybe seeking seasonal employment.

Farm unions and AHDB

These organisations have cancelled all farmer meetings and placed any shows on hold.  Face to face teaching has been suspended.

Farm prices

Milk prices have seen some fluctuation (and reductions) whilst red meat has increased. Other commodities currently remain unaffected.

Farm food distribution

Farmers with farm shops are seeking to deliver direct to the consumer to avoid ques and more than two people in a shop.

Demand Outstripping Supply

Some areas are seeing butchers ‘sold out’.  The advice to the public is not to panic buy – fresh stock is arriving and abattoirs are doing all they can to meet demand.  It has been estimated that almost 50% of the food consumed previous to this crisis was either via restaurants or take-aways and therefore as a result supermarkets, grocers and butchers are seeing an increased demand as the public cater for themselves.

What can Butcher & Barlow do to help?

Although our offices are closed, we are still very much business as usual, and whilst the majority of our staff are working from home all our teams are available to give advice and support during this exceptionally difficult time.  We can provide guidance on for example;

  • Commercial contracts, including milk contracts.
  • Issues with council or business tax relief.
  • Protection for businesses, including rent relief.
  • Guidance on employment contracts and short term hires of staff.
  • Urgent succession planning and / or updating or writing Wills. We are able to take instructions via the telephone, prepare drafts and upon approval send to you for signature.


Please get in touch by calling your local office and leaving a message with a brief description of what your query is about.  We are retrieving messages on a regularly basis and will call you back to discuss your issue.  Alternatively, please contact us at or email your legal adviser directly.

an image of Mike Bracegirdle, a Butcher & Barlow LLP employee

Mike Bracegirdle