Defra minister David Heath has urged people to support to the British lamb industry as he announced a £250,000 fund for farmers in England who lost livestock due to severe weather.
“I call upon the public and food businesses to help our farmers by buying British lamb,” he said today.
The new fund will go towards reimbursing farmers for the removal of animals that died due to asphyxiation, starvation or hypothermia in March’s bitter temperatures. The move follows a recent visit by Heath to Cumbria to view affected areas.
“The loss of sheep during some of the worst snow in living memory has taken a terrible emotional and financial toll on those farmers affected”
“The loss of sheep during some of the worst snow in living memory has taken a terrible emotional and financial toll on those farmers affected, which is why I am happy to announce this additional measure today,” Heath added.
The NFU welcomed the move to provide assistance with the removal of fallen stock. “This very welcome move by Defra will come as a huge relief to those farming families who have struggled with the worst spring snow in living memory and have since faced the very specific problem of the cost of removal of large numbers of dead animals,” said NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond.
“The NFU will now continue to work very closely with the government on the detail of exactly how this money will be distributed.”
Defra also said it was working the National Fallen Stock Company to encourage collectors to offer discounted rates for removing more than 10 sheep at a time.
The government had previously relaxed the rules around the burning or burying of dead livestock onsite.