Almost 1,000 farmers have applied for funding from the Scottish government’s extreme weather financial aid scheme.
The £6m scheme, to help farmers recover from the effect of the severe weather in the winter and late spring, was announced in March by rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead.
Early analysis of the 958 applications received showed about half were from the south-west of Scotland. The majority of claims were for fallen livestock.
Mr Lochhead said: “Earlier this year, parts of Scotland experienced prolonged and extreme wintry conditions – including some of the worst snow in living memory. This had a devastating effect on many farmers, particularly as it happened at lambing time.”
A Scottish government team will now begin to consider the requests for funding at a series of meetings, the first of which was on 24 July.
“It is important that the group prioritises those farmers who were hardest hit – taking into account EU state aid rules – and I look forward to hearing its funding decisions in due course,” the minister said.
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller added: “The effect of prolonged periods of cold and wet weather were compounded by extreme events that saw snowstorms hammer livestock in some parts of the country and sandstorms smother crops in others.
“The reality for many farming businesses is that losses endured in the past year or 18 months – whether livestock or crop-related – may mean that it is 2014 before genuine recovery can be expected and the support that is available to successful applicants to the Weather Aid scheme will provide a very welcome cushion to cashflows.”
(Source – http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/24/07/2013/140169/nearly-1000-farmers-apply-to-weather-aid-scheme.htm)