Farm floods: Guide to practical and financial support

The extensive flooding in northern England, parts of Scotland, north Wales and Northern Ireland has left many farmers facing huge clean-up bills.

Huge swathes of farmland remain waterlogged and unusable, and where floodwaters have receded, grazing infrastructure has been devastated by washed-up silt and debris.

Large areas of arable and winter feed crops were destroyed, farm buildings wrecked and farmyards left under water at a time when farm businesses were already under severe pressure with depressed commodity prices.

However, affected farmers are being urged not to suffer in silence and instead seek help from several areas.

Farming Recovery Fund

  • Defra has set up the Farming Recovery Fund (FRF) to provide help to farmers in Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire whose farmland has been affected by the floods.
  • Grants of £500-£20,000 are available.
  • Applications can be accepted until Friday, 1 April 2016. Works need to be completed and the grant claimed for by 30 December 2016.
  • A farming business can only apply once so before you apply you should weigh up whether the repair bill will go up in the future.
  • Typical items that can be claimed for include boundary repairs, grassland restoration, alleviation of soil compaction, drainage and track repairs.
  • You need to submit your claim both online and via the post, so you need to find access to the internet and a printer if you have none.
  • The application form uses an Excel spreadsheet. If you’re not comfortable with using this software, find someone who can help you.
  • The FRF form and guidance on how to apply for funding is available on the website.
  • Flood-affected farmers in England can also call the Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

  • The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi), farming’s oldest charity, gives out about £2m/year to farming people in financial hardship.
  • Emergency grants during a crisis, such as flooding, are among the many areas where it offers invaluable support to farmers.
  • For help, farmers in England and Wales can call Rabi’s freephone confidential helpline 0808 281 9490 or email
  • Flood-hit farmers in Scotland seeking support can contact Rsabi on 0300 111 4166.

The Farming Community Network

  • The Farming Community Network (FCN) is able to provide practical and pastoral support to farmers and farming families who are suffering as a result of the floods. For help and advice, call Brian Armstrong on 07762 596 226.
  • The FCN telephone helpline is available from 7am until 11pm every day of the week on 03000 111 999. If you prefer, you can email
  • To make a donation to FCN through Just Giving, visit The FCN website

Forage Aid

  • Farmers in need of fodder should call 07967 219 991.
  • Anyone wishing to donate forage or haulage should use the online pledge system on the Forage Aid website
  • Farmers are discouraged from simply turning up in affected areas with forage.

Other support

  • The Cumbria Community Foundation can provide grants, on application, to the local community in general as well as to farmers. Telephone 01900 825 760.
  • The Prince’s Countryside Fund provides grants to the Farming Help charities. For more information visit the Prince’s Countryside Fund website.
  • In Scotland, the Scottish government has announced a £1m floodbank restoration fund for farmers as part of a wider £12m package to help flood-hit communities.
  • NFU Scotland has generated a flowchart for its members that gives guidance to producers on what steps they can take to manage watercourses.
  • In Wales, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) urged flood-hit farmers to contact their local office to get help.
  • In Northern Ireland, no emergency fund has been set up for farmers as such. But a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Dard) said farmers with livestock affected by the floods and in need of support could contact its helpline on 0300 200 7852 or email households can also apply for grants of £1,000 for practical assistance to ensure homes can be made habitable as soon as possible.
  • Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal can offer funding to help with loss of income to the household. Call 01900 825 760.
  • The Addington Fund can provide homes for farming families.