Floods: We’re in this for long haul, say farming charities

Calls for help from flood-affected farmers are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months, agricultural charities have warned.

Kind-hearted members of the public have donated £17,000 in a single week for flood-hit farmers, said the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

People were “digging deep” to help farmers affected by the floods, said RABI communications manager Philippa Spackman.

The charity has opened a temporary office at Sedgemoor livestock market, Bridgwater, to help farmers hit by widespread flooding on the Somerset Levels.

Local firm Agritec offered RABI regional manager Pam Wills space so she could help other farming groups and organisations working with the farming community.

RABI chief executive Paul Burrows said: “We are here to help and we want to help.”

See also Flood-hit farmers – how you can help

The charity could give emergency grants to help farmers, farm workers and their families through the crisis and would also be there for them when the floods eventually subsided.

“We are contacting those people in the area of the Somerset Level whom we have supported in the past to ask if we can provide additional help,” said Mr Burrows.

Applications for help were expected to rise over the coming weeks and months, he added.

“People are currently working every hour of the day, doing all they can to care for their livestock and protect their property and not yet dealing with the financial impact on them and their family.

“We expect more calls to come in when the immediate crisis is over and people start to take stock of the situation and how it affects their future income, viability and welfare.”

Volunteers at the Farming Community Network are continuing to provide practical and emotional support to farmers and farming families affected by severe flooding.

The knock-on effects of the flooding are expected to last for years. FCN said it would also be able to help stand alongside people needing business support in the longer term.

RABI and the Addington Fund are able to support farming families in Somerset in different ways.

RABI will offer finances to meet the domestic costs of farmers badly affected, while the Addington Fund is contributing to the cost of hauling emergency forage supplies to farmers.

For help or to make a donation, visit the Farming Help website

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