Farming unions of England and Wales are calling on governments for more flood-damage support after record-breaking rain hits production

Compensation is only being given for fields close to certain rivers

Compensation is only being given to English farmers for fields close to certain rivers

UK food security is under threat from extreme weather unless government offers more support, the farming unions of England and Wales have warned.

The NFU and NFU Cymru are calling on their respective governments to do more to compensate flooded farmers and support future domestic food production in the face of extreme weather caused by climate change.

The NFU earlier this week (9 April) warned of a building farming crisis and inevitable hits to the volume and quality of crops in this year’s harvest due to weeks of rain since the autumn.

And yesterday (11 April) NFU vice president Rachel Hallos alerted the press to “major issues” with the newly announced Farming Recovery Fund, launched by Westminster to help English farmers devastated by Storm Henk in January.

“We are hearing from numerous members who have suffered catastrophic impacts who have been told they are not eligible for the fund because some of their affected areas are more than 150 meters from ”main” rivers. These include members with 90 per cent of their land saturated or underwater, and huge damage to buildings and equipment,” she said.

“We are taking this up with Defra urgently. I cannot believe this is what ministers intended when they launched the fund, which was a welcome and well-intentioned development which seems to have been fundamentally let down in the detail. While the impact of the weather goes far beyond Storm Henk, this could have been a good start but, as it stands, it simply doesn’t work.”

NFU Cymru, meanwhile, has raised a series of key requests to Welsh Government to assist its farmers hamstrung by ongoing poor weather and ground conditions.

Many areas of Wales have received around 200 per cent of rainfall expected against long-term weather averages, causing significant disruption to farming businesses, the union said.

In a statement released yesterday (11 April), NFU Cymru said the persistent wet weather highlights the need for Welsh Government to recognise the importance of a future policy that provides stability to farm businesses to safeguard domestic food production at times of volatility.

NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said: “We ask Welsh Government, working with its regulator NRW, to do all it can to assist Welsh farmers at an extremely difficult time. This is a time when sensibility and flexibility should take precedence to ensure that our farming businesses are resilient and can produce food to feed the nation.”

Meanwhile, Defra told the BBC that it had listened to NFU complaints that the new Farming Recovery Fund limited compensation only to fields within 150m of an eligible river and lifted that restriction.

Farming minister Mark Spencer said: “This means that farmers will be able to receive payments for all land parcels which are flooded contiguous to an eligible river.

“We’ll continue to listen to farmers and look at how we can expand the scheme and improve support for those affected.”

Defra launched its Farm Recovery Fund on 9 April, offering grants of between £500 and £25,000 to farmers in some parts of England who have suffered uninsurable flooding damage to their land.