£6M extreme weather aid package is welcomed

The Scottish Government’s announcement that it is to make £6million available to assist farmers affected by the extreme weather has been described as ‘very positive’.

NFUS president, Nigel Miller said: “This significant package of support is a very positive result which, for many people, could provide the lifeline they require. Some of the worst storms of recent times might now have passed, but they have left in their wake losses for every farming sector, a legacy which will have its full impact this autumn when lambs are sold and crops are harvested.

“There are some areas of the country where the winter snowstorms devastated, particularly, sheep stocks and some early lambs, but the severe weather problems of 2012 and 2013 have resulted in livestock and crop losses, as well as significantly increased feed requirements.

“This variability has been recognised in the package of support and will mean that aid can be targeted at those in need wherever they are located. Many businesses will enter this winter with budget challenges due to significantly reduced income, compounded by increased input costs. This assistance will help businesses pilot their way beyond the winter and into 2014, when the real road to recovery will start.

Paul Wheelhouse, MSP for the South of Scotland, added: “I really feel for the farmers who have faced uncertainty over recent months in terms of livestock loss and crop devastation and I hope this announcement as well as the previously announced fallen stock compensation will go some way to alleviate the strain being felt across the Borders. At the recent NFUS Borders meeting this issue was covered as an area of particular concern, so I am pleased with this timely announcement and hope farmers will take heart from it.”