Ian Bell, director of the Addington Fund, which has been helping to co-ordinate the flood relief, said it was vitally important that farmers asked for help now. “There are very genuine farmers in real need, who are still reluctant to come and ask for help. My message is simple: farmers across the country are offering to help – there is no stigma; just please ask.”
Although the Government’s Farming Recovery Fund, which offers grants of up to £35,000 for affected farmers to restore their land, closes on 27 June, ongoing practical help will remain available.
Along with the Somerset Levels Relief Fund, launched by the Royal Bath & West Society, Mr Bell was working overtime to distribute straw and forage to affected farms. “There are still a lot of cattle in yards as there’s no pasture to turn them onto, and there’s no first cut silage to make on farms,” he said. “We brought 10 articulated lorries of straw and forage down last week and 15 this week, and have enough pledges to continue at that level until September.”
However, one farmer was forecasting he would be 2000t of silage short for the winter, added Mr Bell. “With the best will in the world we can’t cover that, so are sending in consultants to help with long-term plans. The support has been phenomenal, but the question now is what on earth farmers are going to do to get through the winter.”
To access flood relief funding or forage contact Abigail Vickery or Ann Langwill on 01823 355427.
For more information about the Somerset Levels Relief Fund, or to donate, visit www.bathandwest.com/somerset-levels/258