British agriculture department recruits to cope with Brexit

The British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is set to recruit some new staff to deal with Brexit and the associated challenges of the UK’s departure from the EU.

DEFRA, which is the British ministerial government-level equivalent to Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, is set to bring in a host of employees in policy and communication departments in various locations including Bristol, Westminster and York.

As it stands, there are currently over 50 positions to apply for on the UK ‘Civil Service Jobs’ page, to deal with various aspects of agriculture.

Of these, there are 25 policy advisor positions created under the heading of ‘Food, Farming and Animal Health’.

The intention for these roles is to “develop policy on plant health and animal health and welfare that boosts the economy by supporting trade through better biosecurity, improves welfare, and reduces the cost of disease”, according to the UK department website, as well as preparing for Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Additionally, there are 14 ‘Natural Environment and Rural Policy Directorate’ policy advisor roles sought in regions across England. Contracts for both policy divisions are based on a two-year, fixed-term basis.

There are 10 research officer opportunities currently available, of which eight are senior officer positions. Advertised as permanent positions, the senior officers will have the opportunity to “contribute towards and influence the development of new approaches and policies” in the wake of Brexit.

Also, the department seeks three water inspectors and two communication experts to highlight and promote UK food and drink on an international level.

This expansion of the department comes as Brexit negotiations approach following the conclusion of the UK general election, which is currently underway.  

The Conservative Party Peer, Lord Daniel Finkelstein has previously commented on the post-Brexit support system being devised by the UK, stating that it would take place over a 10-year period.

He noted: “The UK government is very aware of the role played by EU support measures in funding agriculture. And, given this backdrop, the decision has already been made to provide a sufficiently-long transition period, regarding the introduction of new policy measures.”