31 August 2001

Reprieve for top F&Mhelp fund

ONE of the leading foot-and-mouth help funds, the ARC-Addington Fund, has won a stay of execution and now plans to help farmers well into the autumn.

New public donations and the arrival of long-awaited government "match-funding" cash have given the Stoneleigh-based fund a new lease of life.

It is now establishing a National Fodder Bureau to help combat the expected fodder shortage this winter and is widening its remit to offer help to all those – not just farmers – affected by the epidemic.

This wider remit follows a donation of £200,000 from the Rank Foundation, which is ring-fenced for the non-agricultural industry. Another charity has given £50,000 and, with others pending, the fund is now helping rural businesses such as B&Bs and farriers.

ARC-Addington

facts and figures*

Total applications 16,649

Number of grants 16,450

Value of grants £7.90m

Average value of grant £480

* As at Aug 10

What two people who have benefited from ARC-Addington Fund said:

We greatly appreciate the generosity and caring shown by British people during these dreadful times for the agricultural industry…My husband is passionate about his dairy herd, but I have never known him so depressed or so near to giving up as he has been this year…It is going to be a long struggle to survive…This has been a bad year for us but we will fight

to survive and greatly appreciate the money you sent us.

I must apologise for not writing sooner – life has been very stressful and difficult. We just seem to move from moments of hope and then back to the depressing reality of the situation.

We were very grateful to receive your cheque on June 5 that allowed us to receive a 25t load of cattle feed on June 6…We are trying hard to keep going and hope that we do not have to

apply again, believing that we have had our share.

Thank you for your help and prayers.

NATIONAL FODDER BUREAU

The Fund is compiling a National Fodder Bureau drawing together farmers with straw and fodder for sale, farmers requesting it, merchants and auctioneers and plans to maintain a database of availability and demand.

"The most worrying feature of many phone calls into the operations room is the lack of fodder stocks for the oncoming winter," says ARC-Addington Fund co-ordinator Ian Bell.

"Many focus groups are eagerly putting together action plans to reform agriculture and the countryside when F&M is under control, but very few seem to have grasped the problems of how farmers are going to cope with their increased numbers of livestock throughout the next winter."

The bureau will act as "facilitator" linking those with supplies and those wanting it.

The fund may be able to help with a contribution towards fodder/forage haulage costs, if incurred as a direct result of F&M.

Where help is needed to purchase such supplies, an application for a cash grant should be made to the Fund in the usual way.