Farms hit by NI flash floods told to claim ‘force majeure’

Farmers in Northern Ireland affected by serious flash floods on 22 August have been advised to contact the authorities in order to safeguard their payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

Many farmers in the north-west of Northern Ireland suffered catastrophic livestock losses and damage to crops and property after torrential rain fell in the area.

Force majeure application

The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) said if the flood damage is going to affect a farmers’ ability to carry out the agricultural activity they claimed for on their May 2017 single application form, then they can submit a force majeure application.

Each case will be judged on an individual basis and against their own particular circumstances.

However, if claimants can prove that despite all reasonable efforts the flood damage will prevent them from meeting their BPS obligations then they should avoid BPS payment penalties.

Farmers who would like to make a force majeure claim are asked to contact the area-based schemes payment branch on 0300 200 7848 and then complete a force majeure application form.

The application must be made within 25 days of the flood.

The damage

Farmers affected by the devastating flooding have reported drowned sheep, lost cattle, destroyed silage and damage to homes, roads and farm buildings.

Miles of fencing has also been washed away, with arable fields that had been cultivated ready for drilling stripped of their top soil.

One of the biggest losses was recorded by poultry processer Moy Park, which confirmed it had lost 55,000 adult birds based on two farms in County Tyrone.

The Met Office said that 63% of the average rainfall for August came down in about nine hours.