23 March 2020, 14:36 PM
  • Measures including funding and relaxation of the ‘three crop rule’ are set to be put in place by government to help farmers affected by recent flooding
Funding worth £6million announced to support farmers

Defra has announced new measures to help farmers recover from recent storms and flooding across the country.

An extension of the Farming Recovery Fund will ensure that £6million will be made available to farmers affected by February flooding. The funding will be put in place to help those in parts of East and North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and Herefordshire.

Environment Secretary George Eustice also confirmed intentions for the ‘three crop rule’ to be relaxed. The crop diversification requirements were brought over from EU law after 31st January and require farmers managing more than 30 hectares of arable land required to grow at least three different crops. The rule is set to be relaxed for 2020 with some farmland being flooded.

Mr Eustice said, “I have seen first-hand how devastating the recent floods have been to people and communities. For farmers, the costs can be overwhelming, which is why we have extended the Farming Recovery Fund to help those affected by exceptional flooding get back on their feet.

“The Three Crop Rule is not practical in extreme weather events when farmers need to plan their spring cropping. Applying a blanket derogation for this year is the best way to reduce bureaucracy and leave farmers free to get on with farming.

“I’m also aware that the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing other difficulties for the farming community. The Rural Payments Agency is working tirelessly to ensure farmers have access to all the guidance they need and we are exploring all options to ensure the right support is available in the coming weeks and months.”

Responding to the announcement, NFU President Minette Batters said, “This derogation will make a huge difference to the thousands of farmers in England who have faced months of relentless heavy rain, waterlogging and flooding of fields leaving them unable to plant and establish crops for 2020.”

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