Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'A Bit of Rain Does Not Wash Farmers' Problems Away'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'A Bit of Rain Does Not Wash Farmers' Problems Away'

Article excerpt

Byline: Graemewhitfield Business editor @Graemewhitfield

FARMERS' leaders say they have seen "little action" from the Government to help with problems caused by this summer's long, hot weather.

The NFU has called on Environment Secretary Michael Gove to assist farm businesses still suffering from the impacts of agricultural drought, saying that little has been done since an emergency drought summit on August 1. NFU president Minette Batters said governments in Scotland, Wales and across Europe are showing understanding of the severity of the agricultural drought and have put in place measures to assist farm businesses to help with the dire impacts. But she said there had been little help for farmers in England.

She said: "We admired the Secretary of State's words of reassurance when he attended the NFU's agricultural drought summit last month, but we are yet to see meaningful assistance to farmers who have to deal with the long-term impacts of the extreme weather.

"We have prompted the Secretary of State to, as a priority, be flexible on CAP greening rules and agrienvironment schemes.

"These rules and schemes, as it stands, mean many farmers can't graze or cut grass from certain areas of land. But Government can apply to the EU Commission for a derogation to allow farmers to graze or cut grass from this land temporarily.

"Without these derogations, farmers face huge uncertainty over whether feed stocks will last the forthcoming winter and what increasing costs they will be facing if they don't.

"We have also called for additional flexibility on water abstraction licensing, support for additional forage and bedding costs and improved cashflow - and that means speeding up payments that are well overdue for the hundreds of farmers who have been expecting this muchneeded cash injection. …

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