Farming Recovery Fund opens to support flooded farmers

Farmers can access grants of between £500 and £25,000 to cover recultivation costs under the scheme
Farmers can access grants of between £500 and £25,000 to cover recultivation costs under the scheme

The government has opened the Farming Recovery Fund to support farmers who suffered uninsurable damage to their land due to flooding this winter.

Under the scheme, farmers can access grants of between £500 and £25,000 to return their land to the condition it was in before flooding due to Storm Henk.

Eligible farmers are being contacted directly by Rural Payments Agency (RPA) outlining the support available to them through the fund and how they can make a claim.

The fund forms part of a broader scheme called the Flood Recovery Framework which is activated in exceptional circumstances to support councils and communities following severe flooding.

Defra said the fund would initially be open in those local authority areas where the Flood Recovery Framework had already been activated to help farms with the highest levels of flooding.

These are Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, West Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Defra said that eligibility for the fund would remain under review "to ensure it is supporting areas where farmland is most impacted".

The further counties under review are Berkshire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Derbyshire.

Farming Minster Mark Spencer said: “I know how difficult this winter has been for farmers, with extreme weather such as Storm Henk having a devastating impact on both cropping and grazing, as well as damaging property and equipment.

“The Farming Recovery Fund will support farmers who suffered uninsurable damage with grants of up to £25,000, and sits alongside broader support in our farming schemes to improve flood resilience.”

Relentless heavy rain since October 2023 has left vast swathes of agricultural land saturated and in many cases still under water, with many arable farmers unable to plant crops and losing those that were in the ground.

The rain, combined with unseasonal low spring temperatures, is also having a major effect on livestock farmers, with a bleak attrition rate for lambs born this spring already clear.

Responding to the fund, NFU vice president Rachel Hallos said it was "no exaggeration to say a crisis is building" due to the extreme weather.

“People should be in no doubt about the immense pressure UK farm businesses are under thanks to this unprecedented and constant rain.

"While farmers are bearing the brunt of it now, consumers may well see the effects through the year as produce simply doesn’t leave the farm gate.

“Combined with input costs which have been soaring for two years, the awful impact of this extreme weather on farmers cannot be overestimated.

"I have real worries for not just the financial situation of many NFU members, but also the impact this is having on them personally."