Flood-hit farmers – How you can help

Update (14/02/14)

Well-wishers are being urged not to set off on unannounced fodder “treks” to help flood-hit farmers, but to pledge future donations of animal feed and bedding instead.

Farm leaders in the South-West say the short-term situation is now “under control” with enough livestock safe and bedding available. But pledges of straw and fodder for future deliveries – or donations to one of the organisations and charities offering support are still needed (see details below). NFU South-West has said anyone who wants to provide fodder and bedding should first email south.west@nfu.org.uk or call 01392 440 700 to check the current situation.

Well-wishers who want to send donations of animal feed to flood-hit farmers in Somerset are being asked to contact Sedgemoor Livestock Market to arrange delivery.

The market – which is at junction 24 of the M5 motorway – is taking deliveries of feed, forage and bedding after rising water devastated winter fodder supplies.

Cattle from local farms have been sent for temporary shelter at the market after being evacuated from winter housing on the Somerset Levels.

Farmers wanting to donate supplies of silage and straw should arrange delivery by calling 01278 410 278.

“We will distribute it from here once we’ve found accommodation for the cattle,” said Robert Venner, the market’s managing partner.

“If people can ring first, we will know what they are bringing and we can arrange for people to be here to help unload,” Mr Venner told Farmers Weekly.

Any fodder and straw would be useful, he added – including portable round and square baled silage or haylage.

“We are trying to relocate and house these cattle on other farms, but the problem is these other farms haven’t necessarily got the feed.”

Deliveries are also being co-ordinated by Rebecca Horsington who is @rhorsington on twitter and can be emailed on rhorsington@hotmail.com

Groups of farmers who are trying to find hauliers willing to move feed or bedding can contact Tesco which is making some of its fleet available to help out (0800 072 6684).

Farming charities have also reported a surge in enquiries due to the crisis.

Well-wishers without fodder who still want to help can make donations via the Farming Community Network webpage at Just Giving.

Donations should be marked “For Somerset Farmers.” The web address to donate is www.justgiving.com/fcn/donate .

The Addington Fund is also collecting donations which it is using to help pay for the haulage of supplies on its online donation page.

You can also donate to RABI on its Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/rabi

The first donations of livestock feed arrived at Sedgemoor market on Thursday (6 February).

Some 5t of beef feed was sent to Sedgemoor by Devon Millers CMC.

Farmers affected by flooding and unsure where to turn for help are encouraged to call the Farming Help Partnership .