Emergency funding available for flood-hit farmers

The government is making up to £2m available for flood-hit farmers in Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire.

Defra secretary Theresa Villiers said farms in Wainfleet and the Yorkshire Dales were particularly hard-hit by summer floods – and the government wanted to help them recover as quickly as possible.

See also: Farmers determined to recover from record-breaking floods

“Recent spells of heavy rain and bad weather have had devastating effects on farms, communities and businesses, and it is vital that we help local people to get back on their feet,” she said.

Farmers in Wainfleet saw hundreds of acres of crops left under water in June after the River Steeping burst its banks. Dozens of farmers in the Yorkshire Dales were hit by flash floods on 30 July.

The aid package came as the Prince’s Countryside Fund said it was donating £50,000 to help farmers and rural communities hit by flooding in Reeth and Arkengarthdale – both in the Dales.

The Countryside Fund is distributing the money via the Addington Fund charity.

Extreme weather

The Addington Fund is also working with Forage Aid, which provides feed, fodder and bedding to farmers whose livestock have been affected by extreme weather.

Countryside Fund director Claire Saunders said the charity wanted to help get farm businesses up and running again as soon as possible.

“The flooding in Yorkshire has been localised, but is very severe, with farms having lost hundreds of sheep, miles of dry-stone walls being destroyed and machinery washed away.”

Addington Fund chief executive Bill Young said: “Farmers in such situations tend to suffer in silence and this [funding] will enable us, in conjunction with our fellow charity Forage Aid, to act swiftly.

“Our first concerns will be to help with deadstock disposal and ensuring animals have enough uncontaminated feed and forage to get through this difficult period.”

‘Huge relief’

The NFU said the funding would be a “huge relief” to farmers who were facing a range of urgent problems and a massive clear-up operation.

NFU regional director Adam Bedford said the recovery funds would allow the farming community to really begin the process of restoring their fields, fences and walls.

See also: Video: Farmer shows footage of floods engulfing his farm 

The announcement comes hard on the heels of business recovery funding announced earlier in the week by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP.

Mr Bedford said: “Farmers have been asking how they even begin to deal with the huge quantity of stone deposited across the landscape and how they can get their fields back into use.”

With the clear-up likely to take many months, if not years, the NFU has spent the past week calling on the government to provide further recovery support.

How to get help

All affected farmers, both members and non-members, can call the NFU national CallFirst number – 0370 845 8458.

The dedicated CallFirst team is collating details of members and non-members to keep farmers up to date with the latest developments.

Farmers should also:

  • Refer to agreement manuals for Force Majeure time limit rules where agri-environment scheme options have been destroyed or are unable to be established.
  • Consider contacting the RPA within 15 working days, if you believe you might fall into Force Majeure relating to BPS, greening and cross-compliance.
  • Treat any fallen stock with a “business as usual” approach, and local fallen stock disposal companies should be contacted to organise clearance. 
  • Report damage caused by flooding to footpaths and bridleways by contacting Matt Neale at matt.neale@yorkshiredales.org.uk or on 01969 666225.

Helplines for local farmers

  • Environment Agency Floodline 0345 988 1188 (24-hour service)
  • NFU CallFirst 0370 845 8458 (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday)
  • NFU North East Regional Office 01904 451550 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • Farm Community Network 03000 111 999 or the FCN website
  • RABI 0808 281 9490 or the RABI website
  • Addington Fund 01926 620135 or the fund’s website (particularly regarding transport of livestock or haulage)

Source: NFU North East

See more