Welsh government gives £500,000 to farm charities

Charities giving support to Welsh farming families hit by last month’s snow are to share a £500,000 pot of cash donated by the Welsh Government.

In a written statement published today (April 16th), Wales’ farming minister, Alun Davies, announced that the money would be shared between the Farm Crisis Network (FCN), the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and the Addington Trust.

The announcement follows criticism that Welsh farmers who had lost livestock in blizzard conditions were being denied that cash aid sanctioned by the devolved administrations in Scotland and North Ireland.

There will also be an extension to the derogation allowing the on-farm burial of dead animals. Farmers in 100 of the 1046 parishes in Wales will be allowed to continue burying fallen stock until April 23rd.

In agreeing this series of measures, Mr Davies insisted he was “acutely aware’’ of the human impact on farming families.

The £500,000 charity aid will be targeted at areas which had suffered the worst effects of the severe weather.  “I will be offering £100,000 to the FCN and £150,000 to RABI to assist them with their pastoral and advice-related work, and direct support to the most hard-pressed families,’’ he said. 

“Given the general shortage and increased costs of animal feed across most of the country as a consequence of the poor weather, and in order to help address animal welfare and financial difficulties facing, I will also making £250,000 available to the Addington Trust to help them provide short-term support to those families in Wales who are least able to meet these costs.’’

He suggested that this package of support was a “proportionate response’’.

“I have made clear that further subsidies are not the way forward for the industry either in the short-term or the long-term. This package therefore seeks to address the human and business impact of the severe weather. For the long-term resilience of the industry it needs to move away from a dependence on public support and to become more market-facing and more market-orientated.’’

The minister will also encourage the banks to be sympathetic to these farmers. He plans to meet with the agriculture managers of the main clearing banks in Wales to discuss what assistance they can provide.