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Flood-hit farmers to benefit from government measures

Fri 20 March 2020

Farmers in East and North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and Herefordshire are to benefit from new measures announced by the government today in response to the damage caused by recent flooding.

A further extension to the Farming Recovery Fund has allowed a £6 million fund to help those in need.

The flooding in February of this year has meant that farmers in these areas will have difficulty complying with the crop diversification requirement known as the ‘three crop rule’, with much of their land still underwater or damaged.

The three crop rule was carried across from EU law when the UK left the EU on 31 January. It requires those that manage more than 30 hectares of arable land to plant at least three different types of crop.

It has been announced that these rules will be relaxed for 2020 so those that cannot plant their spring crops will not be unfairly penalised.

Environment Secretary George 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.”

The Farming Recovery Fund was launched in 2019 to help farmers who suffered due to the flooding in North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. It was then extended to cover South Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and the Midlands. Under this Farming Recovery Fund, those affected can claim for grants between £500 and £25,000 to cover a number of uninsurable repair costs, such as the re-cultivation of farmland, including re-seeding, replanting cover crops and alleviating soil compaction.

If you have been affected by the flooding in these areas and are looking to apply for the grant, please get in touch with our team.