Farming News - MP calls on Defra to release funds to help farmers devastated by loss of livestock

MP calls on Defra to release funds to help farmers devastated by loss of livestock

06 Mar 2018
Frontdesk / Livestock

Rory Stewart MP has called on Farming Minister George Eustice to request the urgent release of Defra funding to subsidise the cost of fallen stock disposal, as the devastating impact of Storm Emma on some farms becomes clear.

Hundreds of livestock are feared dead.

Defra last relaxed the rules on stock disposal in 2013 due to extreme weather and snowfall; with conditions this week described as “the worst in living memory”, the case for Defra support is clear.

Farming couple standing in snow

Copyright Rory Stewart

Rory has also secured a dedicated caseworker from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) to deal with insurance issues from those in communities in Penrith and The Border who have been affected – either in terms of loss of stock or income, of damage to infrastructure, or other claims with which they may require assistance in brokering insurance pay-outs.

Rory said: “Conditions in parts of Penrith and The Border are, quite simply, some of the worst in living memory. Farmers are suffering a great deal. Not only have they lost stock in lamb – the most critical time for most farmers – but on top of that they are dealing with the costs of disposal, sometimes of hundreds of dead animals.

“The financial and emotional impact of this is unimaginable; they have all my sympathies.

"However on a practical level I pledge to support any farmer in need in any way I can, in the first instance by pressing Defra very strongly to release hardship funding as they have in the past, and secondly to get a fast-track through my office to the ABI, where a dedicated specialist will assist farmers on a case by case basis if they have any insurance problems.”

Chris Purdham, who farms in Gamblesby, told the BBC that he could not reach his 800 pregnant ewes.

"I managed to get up yesterday but it was blowing that hard I couldn't see the sheep," he said.

"If we lose the ewes it will be a huge hit - it's just devastating."

Farming constituents in need of assistance are requested to email Rory at rory@rorystewart.co.uk or to contact his constituency office on phone by 01768 484114.