Food Workers and Brexit

The food industry told foreign workers on July 5th that they matter when prices of foodstuffs and stocks in food-producing companies raised prices and eliminated investments in Britain. Foreign workers are important to the cultivation, processing, packaging, and delivery of food to supermarkets and retailers all across the developed world. Even in the United States, a huge amount of the produce produced (from almonds to oranges and strawberries) is produced by the labor of undocumented workers, many of whom come here for jobs but end up staying for the trap criminally low wages stick them in.

Prices being raised and investments being pulled out of Britain, especially at this volatile time, does no one any good, but it does signal that in the chaos that Brexit has caused to the European economy, the importance of agricultural policy and fair trade policies with local farmers as well as employment policy for the many farmers working on large European-owned farms cannot be overstated.

If Britain doesn’t find a way to secure its current agricultural industry’s ties with Europe through access to the common market quickly, the majority of Britons may not notice anything. Certainly, the wealthiest wouldn’t. However, the poorest Britons who feel the pain of every increase on milk and eggs will continue to be impoverished and the poorest among them will continue to starve, go homeless, and sometimes dies. That shouldn’t be the Britain either side wants.

Brexit and Beef

With the UK’s recent exit from the European Union, the world awaits to see the vast effects that this move will have on the international economy. In the US, people in the agricultural sector are braced for potential impacts on the beef industry.

The US exports over $6 billion in beef and other meats, and that number can be strongly dependent on the value of the dollar.

If Brexit results in a long-term decline in the European and UK economies, this may lead to a stronger US dollar. While this can certainly be good news for those looking to purchase goods with the dollar, it also has consequences on the other side of things.

If people abroad don’t have as much money to spend on US beef, the industry may face some setbacks. Instead of spending their wages on luxury items like certain cuts of beef, they may end up pinching pennies by focusing on cheaper meats and local animals.

This is largely an indirect effect that can be difficult to foresee. As economies fluctuate, interest rates and exchange rates also change, but there can be a delay that depends on a variety of factors.

All of this translates into some uncertainty for the US cattle ranchers. Ultimately, the supply will find an equilibrium with the worldwide demand for beef, and hopefully the prices will allow for enough profit for American farmers to have a strong showing in 2016.