Further support for farmers hit by flooding announced

Defra has announced that more funding will be made available for farmers affected by flooding and exceptional wet weather. The NFU, which called for this greater support, warmly welcomed the news. 

Defra announced more funding for farmers affected by flooding and exceptional wet weather through Farming Recovery Fund.
Photo by NFU

Further support for farmers hit by flooding and exceptional wet weather over this winter has been made available on 24th May as part of the Farming Recovery Fund, with £50 million to cover farms of all sizes across the country.

The new eligibility criteria opens up the scheme to thousands more farmers who have suffered significant damage to their land as a result of prolonged and extreme wet weather and flooding, and will help support UK food security, Defra confirmed.

Farmers whose land has been severely affected by flooding and wet weather and who are likely to need to do work to remediate land to make it possible to farm it in future, will be eligible.  

Payments will be made this summer.

Critical relief 

NFU president Tom Bradshaw welcomed the announcement, which follows the wettest 18 months since 1836.  

He said: “After months of discussions, it’s really good news that the government has listened to our calls for additional financial support for farm businesses. 

“Against the backdrop of some of the most challenging commercial and weather conditions in living memory, which has resulted in plummeting business confidence, these measures will provide some critical relief to many member businesses which have been facing a very uncertain future because of exceptional cashflow pressures.” 

NFU president Tom Bradshaw

Mr Bradshaw added that the recent extreme weather conditions have left vast swathes of agricultural land saturated and, in many cases, still under water.  

Many arable farmers have been unable to plant crops and have lost those that were in the ground, while livestock farmers have endured an incredibly difficult lambing season. 

“With farm business planning needing long-term stability, many farms will be dealing with the impacts for months and even years to come,” the NFU president concluded. 

A recent NFU survey highlighted the toll this has taken on farm business confidence, which has hit an all-time low across England and Wales. 

Fund update

The Farming Recovery Fund originally opened in April, providing grants between £500 and £25,000 for farmers to return their land to the condition it was in before flooding due to Storm Henk.  

Following feedback from farmers, the scheme was updated to remove the 150 metre limit on land flooded by a river, thus including all flooded land near an eligible river.    

READ MORE: NFU calls out ‘major issues’ with flooding fund

READ MORE: Farmers count losses yet again after Storm Henk hits the country

Exceptional, one-off intervention

Farmers whose land has been significantly damaged by water caused by flooding or exceptional rainfall this winter and spring will receive a payment to help cover the costs of bringing their land back into production.  

The Rural Payments Agency will identify farmers who are eligible for the payment and contact them with payments expected to be made to eligible farmers this summer.    

Defra said that this is an “exceptional, one-off intervention” to respond to the exceptionally wet conditions affecting farming this winter and spring, and in the context of the agricultural transition.  

The government is also bringing forward the second instalment of this year’s delinked payment, which will now be paid from September, helping all farmers with cash flow following the impact of wet weather.  

This will follow the first instalment, which is due to be paid from 1st August.     

Photo by NFU

Defra’s spokesperson said that the recovery grants will help contribute to the costs of land remediation, including recultivation, soil remediation or the removal of debris and pollution. 

They added: “To keep the scheme straightforward and workable, Defra has based the payment rates on an assessment of average likely costs.  

“Farmers will have flexibility to spend the grant appropriately in their context and will not have to provide evidence of damage or costs or make further claims.” 

To identify eligible farmers, Defra will use mapping data to determine land close to rivers that has been flooded, in the counties most affected by flooding over this period.  

Defra will also use rainfall data to establish other areas across the country that have experienced exceptional rainfall (more than 70% higher than normal) over the period. 

Find more information here.

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