Rural and Environment

Support for farmers following severe weather

April 26, 2018 by No Comments | Category Farming, Uncategorized

I’ve seen first-hand the significant impact that the prolonged wet and severe weather has been having on farmers and crofters, resulting in higher numbers of dead animals, and acute shortages in feed and fodder in some parts of the country.

There’s a lot that the Scottish Government is already doing to help farmers and crofters cope with the adverse weather conditions. This includes paying millions into the rural economy through our LFASS and BPS loan schemes to help alleviate potential cash flow problems.

We are also actively seeking derogation from the European Commission from the Three Crop rule to help arable farmers and continue to provide advice through our Farm Advisory Service. And the Weather Panel we set up last Autumn to share information and find solutions to short and long term issues. However, there is more we can do to help

That is why I have announced a package of support to address three key issues. First, we are providing £250,000 to help offset part of the additional costs farmers have faced in the uplift and disposal of dead sheep and cattle. This will be operated through the National Fallen Stock Company in a similar way to the 2013 scheme and will involve payments being made for the February to April 2018 period. Final details of the process by which payments will be distributed will be made available shortly.

Second, there is also real pressure on feed and fodder currently and in many parts of the country, winter and spring sowing has been compromised, resulting in likely further problems come the autumn. We need to explore potential ways of addressing these, so I’m meeting commercial feed companies, cooperatives and stakeholders to explore what more can be done to reduce shortages, increase resilience and create collaborative solutions.

Finally, I recognise that the harsh weather and long working hours can take an awful toll on people’s wellbeing. That is why I am also providing RSABI with additional funding to help them provide more vital practical and emotional support to farmers and their families.

We will always have weather to cope with in Scotland – what we need to do is work together to ensure everyone can cope with the impacts of the winter weather we’ve just had as well as the impacts that will result in the farming year ahead.

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