Farming Recovery Fund now open for targeted payments

Farmers in parts of the South West and the Midlands may be eligible for grant funding of up to £25,000 to help repair uninsurable flood damage to their land caused by Storm Henk at the start of the year.

The Farming Recovery Fund, which was announced by Defra in early January, is now open for business, with the aim of returning affected land to its condition before the storm hit.

See also: How two arable farmers repaired their flood-damaged soils 

The funds, which will pay £130/ha, are being limited to farms in areas where Defra says flooding was at its worst: Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, West Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

There is no general claim form available. Rather, affected farmers are being contacted individually by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), outlining the support available to them and how they can make a claim. 

Analysis by the RPA has already identified the individual fields it says are eligible for funding, namely those within 150m of the midpoint of certain specified rivers that had notably high water levels between 2 and 12 January 2024.

Defra farming minster Mark Spencer said: “I know how difficult this winter has been for farmers, with extreme weather such as Storm Henk having a devastating impact on both cropping and grazing, as well as damaging property and equipment. 

“The Farming Recovery Fund will support farmers who suffered uninsurable damage with grants of up to £25,000, and sits alongside broader support in our farming schemes to improve flood resilience.” 


The NFU has welcomed the opening of the scheme, which it says will provide a “lifeline” to some affected farmers, but has urged Defra to go further as the impact of flooding goes far beyond the damage caused by Storm Henk in January.

NFU vice-president Rachel Hallos said: “People should be in no doubt about the immense pressure UK farm businesses are under thanks to this unprecedented and constant rain. It’s no exaggeration to say a crisis is building.

“It’s very encouraging that ministers have been in listening mode on this and have acted on what is not only a terrible situation for farmers to be in, but also a growing issue for UK food security.

“I hope Defra will remain open and flexible in recognising the other areas where help is urgently needed, given the impact of this endless rain goes far beyond the impact of Storm Henk.”

Flood recovery

The Farming Recovery Fund, which forms part of a broader scheme called the Flood Recovery Framework, and is being kept under review by Defra.

It may be extended to Berkshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Staffordshire and Yorkshire in due course.

Farmers are already eligible for support through the Flood Recovery Framework, including a grant of up to £2,500 as part of the Business Recovery Grant, Defra says.  

It also points to flood risk mitigation options that are or will be available under the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery.

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